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(SEPT. 14, 1837.
ly most convenient, on all accounts, that this instalment proposed amount of Treasury notes. I am, therefore, of should follow its present destination, and the necessities of opinion that this instalment should not be withheld : Ist. the Treasury be provided for by other means.
Because the withholding of it will produce great inconveAgain, if you pass this bill, what is it? It is a mere nience to the States and to the people. 2d. Because probrutum fulmen ; of itself, it will not produce any good if vision may be made for paying it, without any large addiyou do pass it. All admit there is no money; therefore the tion to the sum which it is proposed to raise, and which, bill will give no relief to the Treasury. This bill, M at all events, must be raised for the uses of the Treasury. President, will not produce to the Secretary one dollar: he In relation to the general subjects of the message, there acknowledges himself that at all events it will not produce is one thing which I intended to have said, but have omithim many, for he says he wants other aid, and he has ap ted; it is this: We have seen the declaration of the Presplied to Congress for an issue of some millions in Treas. ident, in which he says that he refrains from suggesting ury notes.
He gets the money, therefore, just as well any specific plan for the regulation of the exchanges of the without this bill as with it; the bill itself, then, is unneces country, and for relieving mercantile embarrassments, or sary, depriving the States of a sum which the Secretary for interfering with the ordinary operation of foreign or cannot avail himself of, and which sum, notwithstand domestic commerce; and that he does this from a convicing this bill, he proposes to supply by an issue of Govern tion that such measures are not within the constitutional ment notes, He calls this collateral aid to the measure of province of the General Government; and yet he has made postponement. But this evidently reverses the order of a recommendation to Congress which appears to me to be things, for the Treasury notes are his main reliance; to very remarkable, and it is of a measure which he thinks them only he looks for immodiate relief, and this instal may prove a salutary remedy against a depreciated paper ment now to be withheld is (as a productive source of currency. This measure is neither more nor less than a revenue) only subsequent and collateral to the issue of the
bankrupt law against corporations and other bankers. notes.
Now, Mr. President, it is certainly true that the constiBut now, sir, what sort of notes does the Secretary pro tution authorizes Congress to establish uniform rules on pose to issue ? He proposes, sir, to issue Treasury notes the subject of bankruptcies; but it is equally true, and of small denominations, down even as low as twenty dol abundantly manifest, that this power was not granted with lars, not bearing interest, and redeemable at no fixed pe any reference to currency questions. It is a general powerriod; they are to be received in debts due to Government, a power to make uniform rules on the subject. How is it but are not otherwise to be paid until at some indefinite possible that such a power can be fairly exercised by seiztime there shall be a certain surplus in the Treasury be ing on corporations and bankers, but excluding all the yond what the Secretary may think its wants require. other usual subjects of bankrupt laws ? Besides, do such Now, sir, this is plain, authentic, statutable paper money; it laws ordinarily extend to corporations at all? But supis exactly a new emission old continental. If the Genius pose they might be so extended, by a bankrupt law enactof the old Confederation were now to rise up in the midst ed for the usual purposes contemplated by such laws; how of us, he could not furnish us, from the abundant stores of can a law be defended, which embraces them and bankers his recollection, with a more perfect model of paper money. alone? I should like to hear what the learned gentleman It carries no interest; it has no fixed time of payment; it is at the head of the Judiciary Committee, to whom the subto circulate as currency, and it is to circulate on the credit ject is referred, has to say upon it. of Government alone, with no fixed period of redemption ! How does the President's suggestion conform to his noIf this be not paper money, pray, sir, what is it? "And, tions of the constitution? The object of bankrupt laws, sir, who expected this? Who expected that in the fifth sir, has no relation to currency. It is simply to distribute year of the experiment for reforming the currency, and the effects of insolvent debtors among their creditors; and bringing it to an absolute gold and silver circulation, the I must say, it strikes me that it would be a great perverTreasury Department would be found recommending to us sion of the power conferred on Congress to exercise it a regular emission of paper money? This, sir, is quite upon corporations and bankers, with the leading and prinew in the history of this Government; it belongs to that mary object of remedying a depreciated paper currency. of the Confederation which has passed away.
And this appears the more extraordinary, inasmuch as Since 1789, although we have issued Treasury notes on the President is of opinion that the general subject of the sundry occasions, we have issued none like these ; that is currency is not within our province. Bankruptcy, in its to say, we have issued none not bearing interest, intended common and just meaning, is within our province. Curfor circulation, and with no fixed mode of redemption. I rency, says the message, is not. But we have a bankruptam glad, however, Mr. President, that the committee have cy power in the constitution, and we will use this power, not adopted the Secretary's recominendation, and that they not for bankruptcy, indeed, but for currency. This, I conhave recommended the issue of Treasury notes of a de fess, sir, appears to me to be the short statement of the scription more conformable to the practice of the Govern matter. I would not do the message, or its author, any ment.
intentional injustice, nor create any apparent where there I think (said Mr. W.) there are ways by which the de was not a real inconsistency; but i declare, in all sinceriposites with the States might be paid by the funds in the ty, that I cannot reconcile the proposed use of the bankbanks. There are large sums on deposite in some of the rupt power with those opinions of the message which re. States, and an arrangement might be made for the States spect the authority of Congress over the currency of the to receive the notes of their own banks in payment of this country, instalment, while the Treasury is at the same time relieved Mr. WRIGHT said it might become him to say a few by its own measure; and all the inconvenience, disappoint words in relation to the bill before the Senate. His posiment, and disturbance, which this bill will necessarily tion in reference to this and other bills, perhaps, required create, would be avoided. At any rate, the payment of him to do so.
Ho would, however, confine himself strictthis deposite could do no more than in some measure to ly to the present subject, and to the most brief justification increase the amount of Treasury notes necessary to be is of his own course, and that of a majority of the Committee sued; it is a question of quantity merely. Much of the on Finance, who had concurred with him in reporting the instalment, I believe, inight be paid, by judicious arrange bill. ments, out of those funds now in the banks, which the Immediately upon the appointment of the committee, and Secretary cannot use for other purposes; so that the whole the reference to it of the important subjects treated of in the might be provided for, by no great augmentation of the message of the President, and the report of the Secretary of
SEPT. 14, 1837.]
the Treasury, the committee found that the Treasury of the transfer should still be made, and should provide the means United States was, very soon, to be in want of means to for making it. These facts and conclusions were fully bemeet the current demands upon it, without regard to any fore the committee. further transfer to the States. They also found that this It then became necessary for them to see what would be fourth instalment of the deposites with the States was to the state of the public Treasury, upon the supposition that become payable on the 1st day of October, and amounted the October instalment of the deposite with the States should to about nine and one-third millions of dollars.
be withheld. In prosecuting that inquiry, they found that The state of the Treasury, as developed by the report of the funds in the Treasury subject to draft were to so great the Secretary of the Treasury, was, as he now recollected, an extent unavailable, that it would be indispensably ne(and he thought he could not be materially mistaken,) that, cessary to resort to the use of the credit of the Government, at the time when the statement appended to that report was in some form, to anticipate the practical use of the unmade up, about the first day of the present month, (he be available portions of those funds for the purpose of current lieved the exact date was the 28th of August,) there was payments. in the Treasury, subject to draft, available and unavailable, At this stage of the inquiry, two other important interbut eight million one hundred and some odd thousand dol ests, both public and private in their character, pressed lars. The report was printed, and upon the table of every themselves upon the attention of the committee. In any Senator, and would verify his correctness in this particular. settlement with the late deposite banks, which should have This amount was exclusive of the sums already deposited proper regard to the present deranged and depressed state with the States, being some twenty-eight millions.
of the business of the country, and to the security of the To arrive at what would be the condition of the Treasury public moneys yet remaining in their possession, the comon the 1st of October, the expenses of the present month, mittee were forced to the conclusion that indulgence to which, from drafts already made and anticipated, were these institutions, beyond their legal liabilities, was indisestimated at about two and a half millions, must be de- pensable. The conclusions of the committee upon this ducted from the eight million one hundred and odd point had been embodied in the shape of a bill, and was thousand; thus leaving in the Treasury, subject to draft now before the Senate in a printed form. The other great on the 1st day of October, less than six millions, without interest to which he referred was a similar indulgence upthe transfer of a dollar to the States towards the October on the revenue bonds. There, also, the committee had instalment. This, too, included all the funds in the Treas- reported a bill, which was before the body.
In both cases, ury, subject to draft for payments, or transfers to the States, the least indulgence had been proposed, which the comwhether available or not, upon the drafts of the Treasurer; mittee believed to be consistent with the great private inthe funds on deposite with the States not being taken into terests of the community, or the security of the public propthe computation.
erty involved. They had been induced to believe that the If, then, the October instalment was to be transferred to time granted to the banks was the least which would enthe States, all the means in the Treasury, of all descriptions, able them to meet the payments in the manner required by on the day when that instalment was, by the deposite law, law, and that any dependence upon a more speedy collecmade transferable, would not be equal to two-thirds of the tion of the merchants' bonds would result in disappointment arount; and money must be borrowed upon the credit of to the public Treasury, and a consequent failure to pay the the United States, to supply the deficiency.
public creditors. Another and stronger view, however, was presented to It being assumed that Congress would agree with the the committee by the head of the Treasury Department. committee in these conclusions, and that these bills would The largest portion of the funds in the Treasury at present, meet with approbation, what then would be the state of the and which would remain there on the 1st of October, were Treasury with reference to a transfer of the October instalwholly unavailable upon the drafts of the 'Treasurer. They ment to the States? Fere in the Western and Southwestern banks; and experi Mr. W. said he understood the estimates of the departence had already shown that the drafts of the Treasurer inent to be, that, without these indulgences to the banks upon these banks would not be received in payment by the and the merchants, and with the postponement of the Ocpublic creditors. It was equally proved that the States, tober instalment of the transfer to the States, the whole other than those in which the banks were located, would means in the Treasury might be adequate to its wants; in not take those drafts, and give their obligations for a repay case Congress should be willing to grant the use of the ment of the amount in money, in pursuance of the pro- public credit temporarily, that that portion of the funds visions of the deposite law. The transfer to the States, which were at present unavailable might be brought into therefore, could not be made, even to the amount of the practical use, until time should render them available for funds in the Treasury subject to draft, by reason of the the redemption of that credit. If those indulgences should character of the funds to be drawn upon; and, if to be be granted, then the use of the public credit would be remade a loan, tu a much greater amount than the deficiency quired beyond the current year, because material portions of those funds upon paper, would be regarded indispensable, of the existing means, and of the otherwise accruing revefrom the unavailable condition of these funds.
nue, would be placed without the reach or control of the Still it would be seen by the Senate, that this disposition Treasury for more than that period. of the funds in the Treasury, and of the public credit, would Upon these calculations and hypotheses the bills of the leave the Treasury without a dollar to answer the current committee had been framed; and it was now his duty to demands upon it. The appropriations for the year were give these facts and conclusions practical application to the large, almost beyond example; and the current calls upon measure under discussion. the public Treasury must be measured by them. Hence This was a bill to postpone the October instalment of the it had been an object of primary interest with the Secretary transfer to the States. If he had been correct in his stateto devise the means for carrying on the Government, and ments, and had made himself intelligible to the Senate, it falfilling its obligations to the public creditois; and, in reach would be seen that nothing existed in the Treasury out of ing thal object, he had, as he (Mr. W.) considered, wisely which this transfer could be made, and that nothing within and properly suspended his efforts to make this last trans its power could enable it to make it without the aid of Confer to the States. In pursuance of this necessity, he had gress. It would also be seen that the whole means of the told Congress, in his printed report, that he should make Treasury were inadequate to meet the current calls upon it no movements towards the accomplishment of that object, without the temporary aid of the credit of the nation; and until the action of Congress should signify its will that that 'that, if a reasonable indulgence were granted to public
(SEPT. 11, 1837.
debtors, (such as the condition of the country and the se The honorable Senator seemed to suppose that the means curity of eventual collections seemed to demand,) the use to make this transfer to the States were in the Treasury ; of that credit must extend beyond the current year, and and that the only difficulty, separate fron the other demands could, at best, be only eventually met and redeemed by the upon it, grew out of the present unavailable character of means of the Treasury, existing or in prospect, without a
those means. The statements he had already made had further transfer to the States.
shown the error of this hypothesis. He had already shown In view of these facts, Mr. W. said his own mind had that the whole means in the Treasury, even when the Secbeen brought to this simple and plain conclusion: that the retary of the Treasury made his report, at the commenceUnited States had no longer any moneys to be safely kept by ment of our present session, of whatever character, wheththe States; that if the October instalment of the transfer pro er available or not, were less, by more than a million of dolvided for by the deposite law of 1836 were made, the means lars, than the instalment required to be transferred to the to make it must be borrowed upon the credit of the United States under the deposite law. He had further shown that States; and that Congress must place itself in the singular those means, such as they were, were, before the 1st of Ocposition of using the public credit to borrow money, merely tober, when that transfer was required to be made, to be still ihat it might be safely kept by the States when it was ob- further diminished by the whole expenses of the Government tained. He understood these provisions of the deposite for the present month, ascertained and estimated to amount law, upon their face, to be mere provisions for the safe to two and a half millions of dollars. Hence it would fol. keeping of the public money. He understood this to be low, that the whole means in the Treasury on the 1st day the object of those who advocated and supported that law of October next must be from three and a half to four milat the time of its passage. In that sense he was disposed lions less than the transfer required. It was in vain, thereto regard it now; and he did not, therefore, view it as cre fore, Mr. W. said, to escape from the conclusion, that, if ating any claim in favor of the States, or as imposing any Congress should insist upon this transfer, it must authorize debt upon the United States. If, therefore, we were called a loan of money upon the public credit, to enable the Treasupon to borrow money to fulfil the provisions of that law, ury to make it: in other words, that it must authorize a loan he could only view it in the light of a call upon us to bor of money upon the credit of the United States, in order row money, merely that it might be safely kept when so that that money, when louned, may be deposited with the borrowed. He had not felt, and could not feel, himself States for safekeeping. authorized to recommend a loan upon the credit of the na Another error of the honorable Senator (Mr. WEBSTER] lion for such a purpose. He believed he spoke the senti. which he felt bound to correct was in his strictures upon ments of those of his colleagues upon the committee, when the recommendations of the Secretary of the Treasury, as he said that these were the views which had actuated him to the manner of issuing Treasury notes. The honorable and them in consenting to report this bill.
Senator had criticised this part of the report of the Secretary Mr. W. said he owed it to himself to say that he had of the Treasury with some severity, and had held him up felt most sensibly the remarks of the honorable Senator from to the Senate and the country as striking out a new path Massachusetts (Mr. WEBSTER] as to the inconveniences for the supply of the Treasury; as recommending the issue and disappointments which must grow out of withholding of paper money, of a description of paper similar to that the transfer of this instalment to the States. With a much which we know by the denomination of “continental moless knowledge of the varied business and pecuniary affairs |ney ;” and of doing this for the first time since the organiof our extended country than that distinguished Senator, he zation of the Government under the constitution. The fault had not been insensible to these considerations. The course complained of consisted in a recommendation, merely disparsued by his own State, in the disposition of this money, cretionary and alternative, to issue Treasury notes bearing had compelled him to be awake to them. The law of his no interest, and payable to the bearer, in case the public State for the investment of its portion of this money had creditors should be found willing to receive such notes in placed the matter even beyond its control, and had compel. payment of their demands against the Government, at par ; led its chief fiscal officer, long since, to announce to its otherwise, to give the notes such an interest as would bring citizens that this instalment would be paid from the treasury of the State, whatever might be the action of Congress Mr. W. said, as the committee, in the bill they bad reupon the subject. This would, beyond doubt, be done; and ported, had not followed this recommendation of the Secrethose who sent him here, and whom it was his duty and de- iary, it would be seen that no question was depending besire faithfully to represent, should this bill pass, would be fore the Senate, either in the bill now under discussion, or compelled to indemnify, from their own public funds, the in any other, which rendered this point material ; but he individuals interested as borrowers of these moneys against was sure his object would be fully understood and apprecidisappointment, damage, or loss, from the action of Con- ated in making this correction. It was simply to defend gress. Yet, under these delicate and difficult circumstan- this public officer against a mistaken accusation. It was ces, he had not been able to convince himself that he could not necessary for him to defend, at this time, the soundness properly do otherwise than to support the bill. He owed of the recommendation, but to protect the Secretary against a high duty to those constituents, but he owed, in his esti- the charge of being the author of a principle now supposed mation, a higher to the nation and to the constitution of his to be so new and so dangerous. To do this, it was only country. He could not think that the power granted to necessary for him to read the third section of the act of the Congress to borrow money upon the credit of the United 24th of February, 1815, authorizing an emission of TreasStates could be properly exercised for the mere purpose of ury notes, in which all these dangers would be found to be raising money to be safely kept; and this he must consider embraced, adopted, and made imperative, as a part of the the simple question presented. He might be mistaken in laws of the land. this view of the matter, but such was the deliberate conclu [Mr. W. here read the section of the act, as follows: sion of his mind, upon the most mature reflection; and that “ Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the said conclusion must govern his action upon the bill, as it had done Treasury notes shall be prepared of such denominations as his action as a member of the committee which reported it. the Secretary of the Treasury, with the approbation of the
Having said thus much, Mr. W. said, he would only President of the United States, shall, from time to time, dicorrect two or three errors of fact into which the honorable rect; and such of the said notes as shall be of a denominaSenator who had just resumed his seat (Mr. WEBSTER] tion less than one hundred dollars shall be payable to bearseemed to him to have fallen, and he would detain the Sen- er, and be transferable by delivery alone, and shall bear no ate no longer.
interest; and such of the said notes as shall be of the de
them to par.
Sept. 14, 1837.]
nomination of one hundred dollars, or upwards, may be than to defeat the expectation on which the other party made payable to order, and transferable by delivery and as had acted? What was the object of this bill? It was not signment, endorsed on the same, and bearing an interest to repeal, but to postpone what was hereafter to be fulfilled. from the day on which they shall be issued, at the rate of Such being the case, it was doubtful whether it could ever five and two-fifths per centum per annum; or they may be be transferred to the States with more convenience than it made payable to bearer, und transferable by delivery alone, could now from the banks. and bearing no interest, as the Secretary of the Treasury, During the late war there was great want of money, and with the approbation of the President of the United States, a great disposition to use Treasury notes, and pass them shall direct."]
as a medium of payment to the public creditors. But, in What, now, Mr. W. asked, was the condition and the the difficulties and embarrassments of a foreign war, things fault of the Secretary? He had found the public treasury were done, which, in a day of peace and abundance, we in want of means to pay the public creditors. The exigen- should be slow to do. And one thing which we should be cy had grown out of a reverse in trade and business, sud slow to do was, to propose by law that we should pay the den and universal ; and the use of the credit of the Govern- public creditors anything less in value than gold and silment, in some form, seemed to him indispensable. It be- ver, on the condition that the creditors would voluntarily came his duty to suggest to Congress the means and the take it. The Secretary had said that the protested checks mode of supplying the Treasury. He examined the legis now in circulation were only a little depreciated below the lative history of the Government in former cases of embar- value of specie, and argues that these potes will be as good rassment at the Treasury, and found, among other expedi at least as the protested checks. But suppose these notes ents, that emissions of Treasury notes paying no interest, should be depreciated only a little below the value of silpayable to bearer, transferable by delivery alone, and with ver; was it proposed that they should be offered to the pubout any restriction as to the denomination of the notes to be lic creditors if they would receive them ?
What was so issued, had been authorized. Among a variety of plans meant when it was said that the officers of the Government to meet the present wants, he suggested this, recommend may pay its creditors in Treasury notes, if they will voling that no note should be issued for a less amount than untarily receive them? What was the alternative? Were $20. Had he attempted to introduce any new principle ? the gold and silver held in one hand, and the Treasury Certainly not. Was his conduct, in making this sugges notes in the other ? On the contrary, it was a sort of tion, in confornity with the previous practice of Congress forced payment, not as good as was required by law. All itself, deserving of the high censure which had been bestow knew there was no choice. The men who labored in the ed upon it? He (Mr. W.) thought not.
streets of this city, on the public works, or who furnished A single other reply to the honorable Senator. That the bricks and stones, would come for their pay; and they gentleman had supposed the President most inconsistent would be offered Treasury, notes, and asked if they were and contradictory with himself, in remarking, generally, in willing to take them. But would there be gold and silver his message, that he did not recommend to Congress meas in the other hand ? No; nothing but the Treasury notes: ures for the regulation of the general currency of the coun and they would be asked if they were willing to take them; try, or of the foreign and domestic exchanges, because he and then, if they should take them, that is called voluntacould not find in the constitution any power conferred upon ry reception. Congress to regulate these matters; and then, in the same Now it is evident that, in such a case, the only choice is message, recommending a bankrupt law, as applicable to between Treasury notes, on the one hand, and something banks and bankers. Where was the inconsistency or con worse, or nothing at all, on the other. No man can be tradiction! The President had said he omitted to make supposed to receive voluntarily any thing of less value than further recommendations upon these subjects than those that which he is legally entitled to. The reception of such found in the message, because he could not find, and did inferior medium is always the result of force or necessity, not believe, that Congress possessed further power over either greater or smaller. Neither the justice nor the digthem; but he did recommend a bankrupt law, because the nity of the Government could ever allow of such a course. power to pass bankrupt laws is conferred upon Congress by If Treasury notes were offered to the public creditor, there the constitution, in express terms. He did, therefore, roca ought to be an actual choice afforded between them and oro mend a bankrupt law, which the constitution authorizes; the specie. And, especially, with what an aspect could and he did not recommend any thing else, upon these points, this Government offer such payment, at the very moment because the constitution authorizes Congress to do nothing when, with a stern countenance and iron hand, it was deelse. Is this inconsistent ?
manding of its creditors metallic money for every dollar of Mr. WEBSTER said, in reply, if the act of 1815 au. its dues ? Was it not now the law that no officer of the thorized the issuing of Treasury notes, no circulation was
Government should offer the public creditor any thing less ever made of such notes as the Secretary now recommends. in value than specie? Mr. W. thought, therefore, that All Treasury notes went on the ground of a temporary the notes proposed by the committee were better than those loan to the Government, to be paid or funded as soon as
recommended by the Secretary. He was in favor of that the Treasury would allow.
system which would put the public creditor in no such seThe member from New York (Mr. Wright) had said lection as between paper and nothing. that the question before the Senate was a simple proposi Mr. BUCHANAN said he had often admired the dextion, whether they should borrow money to be safely kept terity with which the Senator from Massachusetts could exwith the States?' By him, and by others, it had also been tricate himself from a difficulty, in which, however, he was represented as a question whether they should borrow mo seldom involved. On such occasions he always made a ney to give away? Nobody, Mr. W. thought, would skilful retreat. Feeling the respect which he (Mr. B.) did borrow money merely to give away, or deposite for safe for nis legal knowledge, he had received, as a matter of keeping. But he would put it to the honorable member, faith, his declaration that Treasury notes not bearing inif any Government had made a contract, or excited an ex terest had never been issued under the present constitupectation that a deposite would be made, and the other tion; and when he called up the ghost of the ancient Conparty had acted on the faith of this assurance, and had federation to act as godfather of these Treasury notes, Mr. nearly completed their arrangements, whether it ought not B. remained satisfied that he had made himself fully acto supply the means, even if it did not, at the time, possess quainted with the laws in relation to that subject. But them? And suppose it was the promise of a gift, instead scarcely had he taken his seat, when the act of 1815 laid of a deposite ; might it not be found more just to borrow, the ghost which he had conjured up; and by that it ap
(Sept. 14, 1837.
peared that Congress had done the very thing which he had ly inconvenient for them to return, at the present time, declared had not been done since the days of the Confed- any portion of the money which they had already received. eration. Thus much was due to the Secretary of the He did not believe that it ought to be demanded from them Treasury. Mr. B., however, rejoiced that the Committee by the Secretary of the Treasury, without the special direcon Finance had proposed the issue of no notes not bearing tion of Congress. Still, this opinion was not founded upon interest.
any doubts which he entertained of their obligation to reIn regard to this bill, a plain statement of facts would be fund it. the most conclusive argument which could be urged in its Congress would not have been involved in its present favor. He had voted for the deposite of June, 1836; and, difficulties in regard to this subject, but for the unfortunate upon a retrospect of all which had occurred since its pas amendment which had been made to the deposite bill by the sage, he had found no cause to repent of this vote.
House of Representatives, which was acquiesced in by the a choice of evils; and between the alternatives presented, Senate. Had it not been for this amendment, we might he thought he had made the best choice. On the one side, now proceed and suffer the fourth instalment to be deposited after reserving five millions, nearly forty millions of dollars with the States. The Secretary of the Treasury would then had accumulated in the deposite banks. This vast amount have received from them transferable certificates of deposof money was used by them to increase the dividends of ite, in such convenient sums as he might have directed, their stockholders, to expand extravagantly the paper cir bearing no interest until it became necessary for him to use culation of the country, and to excite speculation to the them, but afterwards bearing an interest of five per cent., greatest excess. On the other hand, strong objections ex and redeemable at the pleasure of the States. At this very isted against making the Federal Government an instru moment such certificates would command a premium in the ment for the purpose of collecting money that it might be market, and would be equal to gold and silver. The Treasdeposited with the States. The precedent might in many ury might have been replenished by their sale ; and we respects be dangerous. But the money was on hand. it might suffer the deposite law to take its course. had been collected under existing laws. Placed in this Mr. B. said, however much ingenuity might attempt to situation, he thought it was more just, more politic, more disguise this question, the result was, that we must now desafe, to place it in deposite with the States, that it might termine whether we will borrow the amount of the fourth be used for the benefit of the people, than to suffer it to instalment, either in the form of Treasury notes, or by a remain with the banks for the benefit of their stockholders, direct loan, and pay interest upon it, in order that we may and to the injury of the country.
deposite it with the States for safekeeping, and without inBut does the deposite law, from first to last, contain one terest. This was the plain and simple proposition. It was sentence-nay, does it contain one word—which resembles the result of all the argument. What man, in his senses, a gift or a loan to the States ? Is it not, in terms, a bare ever contracted a debt in order that he might deposite the transfer of the deposites from the banks to the States ? amount of it with his neighbor for safekeeping? And is Under its provisions, the faith of all the States is pledged the Federal Government to be guilty of this absurdity ? Are for the safekeeping and repayment of their respective pro- we, as the trustees of the people of the United States, to portions of this money, whenever they shall be required by manage their concerns so unwisely as to involve them in a the Secretary of the T'reasury, for the purpose of defraying debt, and collect taxes from them to pay it, for any such the wants of the Treasury. The mode and manner in purpose ? However much the States might desire to rewhich he shall call for it are expressly prescribed. Nay, ceive this fourth instalment, and whatever attempts might inore; the case has actually occurred. If the Secretary had be made to excite popular feeling upon this subject, he had pursued the line of strict duty under the law, he would, full confidence that his constituents would approve his vote ere this, have called on the States for a portion of the three
upon this bill. instalments which have already been paid. He has acted Mr. B. said that he knew very well that this was a subwisely in not making this demand until the pleasure of ject well calculated to enlist the feelings of Senators. The Congress could be known. The States are not now in a instalment might be deposited with the States against his condition to return iomediately any portion of what they vote. In that event, he should bow most cheerfully to the have already received.
will of the majority. Indeed, there was one consideration Under these circumstances, the question is, whether we which had induced bim to endeavor to bring himself to this are bound, upon any principle, to deposite with them the conclusion ; and nothing but a conviction of imperious duty fourth instalment, when the Secretary of the Treasury, the had stood in the way. He knew that the greater amount very next day, might demand a return not only of it, but of 'Treasury notes which we issued, the greater would be of the three other instalments, in the manner prescribed by the relief to the conimunity. Whatever anount might be the law.
issued, would be equal, in this respect, to the creation of so The Senator from Massachusetts had not contended that much gold and silver. They would assist in regulating the we were bound by any contract to deposite this fourth in- exchanges, both foreign and domestic. They would go to stalment with the States. He had said, however, that if Europe in payment of our debt, and thus prevent the transan individual, by his conduct, had induced a reasonable portation of the precious metals. If this bill should not expectation that he would loan money to another, or give pass, their amount would be increased several millions; and money to another, it might become his duty to borrow it, thus additional relief would be afforded to the public. But and pay interest for it, for either of those purposes. Mr. however much he might desire, and however much he did B. denied that the conduct of Congress was such as to af- desire this result, he could not consent to borrow money on ford any pretext for such an expectation. On the face of the faith of the United States, not to carry into effect the the act there was nothing but deposite written. Neither a legitimate purposes of the Government, but to place it on loan nor a gift appeared upon it. It was a mere deposite, deposite with the several States. without interest, to be restored when demanded in the In answer to Mr. BUCHANAN, manner prescribed; and not a loan for a given period, much Mr. WEBSTER, having obtained and examined the act less an absolute gift. If the States, therefore, had enter. of 1815, said: The honorable member from Pennsylvania tained any such expectation, it was from other circumstan- has been kind enough to say that I do not often get into ces, and not from the solemn contract into which they had difficulties in debate, and that when I do, I generally extrientered with the United States under this law.
cate myself better than I have done on the present occasion. Mr. B. knew that several of the States had made ap- He partakes in the supposed triumph of his friend from New propriations of this money, which would render it extreme. ' York, (Mr. Wrigut,] in having proved me incorrect when