Page images
PDF
EPUB

Sept. 14, 1837.)

Fourth Instalment.

[SENATE.

We were

I said that this Government had never issued such paper repose this responsibility where he (Mr. B.) thought it money as the Secretary has now recommended. Now, sir, should be-namely, in Congress. For this purpose he propo. although I am pleased to see the happiness which the gen- sed to insert provided the three first instalments already paid tleman enjoys, yet I believe I must dash it a liitle. Most do remain on deposite until further directed by Congress.” assuredly, sir, it authorizes no such paper as is now propo Mr. NILES said he must ask for the yeas and nays on sed. I was persuaded it could not, as I have a pretty good the amendment, and was sorry it had been offered. If it was recollection of the proceedings of Congress on such subjects to be fully considered, it would renew the debate on the deat that time.

posite act, as it went to change the essential principles and The law of 1815 authorized the issue of two classes of terms of that act. A majority of those who voted for that Treasury notes : Ist. Such as bore no interest, but which, act, about which there had been so much said and so much the very hour they were issued, might be funded in a ở per misrepresentation, had professed to regard it—and he could cent. stock, to be redeemed like other stocks of the Govern not doubt that at the time they did so regard it—as simply ment. 2d. Treasury notes bearing an interest of five and a deposite law; as merely changing the place of deposite two-fifths per cent., capable of being funded in like manner, froin the banks to the States, sò far as related to the surin a 6 per cent. stock. These stocks were to be issued on plus. The money was still to be in the Treasury, and liaapplication by any commissioner of the revenue in any ble to be drawn out, with certain limitations and restrictions, State. Now, what comparison is there between either of by the ordinary appropriation laws, without the direct acthese classes of Treasury notes and those recommended by tion of Congress. The amendment, if adopted, will change the Secretary, which bear no interest, and for which no fix- the principles of the deposite act, and the condition of the ed redemption is provided ?

money deposited with the States under it. It will no longI affirm again, therefore, sir, all that I have said, name er be a deposite ; it will not be in the Treasury, even in ly, that the notes recommended by the Sceretary are regu- point of legal effect or form: the deposite will be changed lar paper issues, like the old emissions of Congress and the to a loan, or, perhaps more properly, a grant to the States. States before the adoption of the present constitution; and 'The rights of the United States will be changed to a mere that no precedent has been found for them, and I am sure claim, like that against the late Bank of the United States; none can be found, in the practice of this Government. and a claiin without any means to enforce it.

Mr. BUCHANAN said he did not think the Senator, charged, at the time, of making a distribution of the public with all his ingenuity, had got out of the difficulty. Under revenue to the States, in the disguise and form of a deposthe section of the law of 1815, which he had just read, ite; and this amendment, it appeared to him, would be a Treasury notes were to be issued without interest; they very bold step towards confirming the truth of that charge. were to circulate as a currency without interest ; they might He deemed the amendment an important one, and highly continue to circulate for years without interest. It did not objectionable; but he saw that the Senate were prepared to alter the case that the holder of them above a certain amount adopt it, and he would not pursue the discussion, but conhad the privilege of funding them, and converting them into tent himself with repeating his request for the ayes and noes a stock bearing interest. This interest did not commence on the question. from the date of their issue, but from the time they were Mr. BUCHANAN said he had not imagined this amendfunded. All the time they remained in circulation, they ment would meet with opposition. He wished to know Were Treasury notes without interest. They were what the if it was right and proper that the Secretary should be made Senator from Massachusetts had supposed never was issued responsible for not calling upon the States for this money, under the present constitution. Mr. B. however, agreed as the law required him to do? The condition of the States with the Senator that at this time no Treasury notes ought was such that the Secretary cannot make such call upon to be issued which did not bear interest.

them. He (Mr. B.) was therefore desirous to relieve him Mr. CALHOUN said that he was decidedly of the im- from this embarrassment. The substituting Congress inpression that, under the circumstances of the case, this stead of the Secretary would not, Mr. B. thought, make postponement ought to be made. The object of the deposite any change in the nature of the fund. law was to draw the revenue out of the grasp of the Gov Mr. CĂLHOUN said he fully concurred in the propoernment, and to restore it to those to whom it ought to be sed amendment. It was due to the States in their soverestored. And now, when there was no surplus, it was not reign capacity not to subject themselves to be called upon contrary to the purpose of that law to withhold it. But the for the money by any other authority than Congress. responsibility of doing so would rest on gentlemen of the The question was then taken on the amendment offered adininistration and those of the opposition who made last by Mr. BUCHANAN; and the yeas and nays being called for, year the extravagant appropriations of thirty-two millions, were as follows: exceeding the estimate of the Secretary of the Treasury. YEAS-Messrs. Allen, Bayard, Black, Brown, BuchanThey were then told of the folly of raising the revenue, and an, Calhoun, Clayton, Crittenden, Fulton, Grundy, Kent, of raising the disbursements. The result now was, that the King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Knight, Linn, Lyon, Government was bankrupt. Were they never to look ahead, Morris, Nicholas, Norvell, Preston, Robbins, Robinson, and see the difficulties that threatened them?

Sevier, Smith of Indiana, Southard, Strange, Swift, TallAnother era had now arisen. They had got through madge, Wall, Webster, White, Williams, Young--33. with the surplus, and Mr. C. trusted they were through Nars-Messrs. Benton, Clay of Alabama, Hubbard, with extravagant appropriations. If they did not econo Niles, Pierce, Rives, Ruane, Ruggles, Smith of Connecmize and retrench, he saw a new age commencing-perhaps ticut, Tipton, Walker, Wright-12. that of Treasury notes—when the compromise act would be Mr. TALLMADGE then moved, as an amendment, to annulled, and the high tariff revived. But Mr. C. would strike out all the bill after the enacting clause, and insert agree that the fourth deposite should be withheld, since that the following as a substitute therefor: law had fulfilled its main purpose, and since a new series That the money deposited, and to be deposited, with the of extravagances was now to arise unless they kept a good States, under the 13th section of the act of June 23, 1836, lookout.

shall remain on deposite with the States until otherwise diMr. WALKER moved an aljournment; when, a divis- rected by Congress.' ion being called for, the Senate refused to adjourn.

Mr. T. made a few brief remarks in support of this amend. Mr. BUCHANAN then rose to offer an amendment, if ment, which he said embraced the substance of the amendin order; the object of which was to take off from the Sec ment offered by the Senator from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Buretary the responsibility of calling upon the States, and to CILANAN.]

SENATE.]

Fourth Instalment.

(Sept. 15, 1837.

The yeas and nays being ordered, the question was ta even their extravagant demands, and gave them thirty milken on Mr. TallMadG E's amendment, and decided in the lions. Then it was, sir, that this deposite bill was originanegative, as follows:

ted. It went hand in hand with bills of the most extravaYEAS-Messrs. Bayard, Clayton, Crittenden, Fulton, gant and prodigal expenditure. Kent, Knight, Lyon, Nicholas, Norvell, Preston, Robbins, Now, sir, under these circumstances, when we give so Smith of Indiana, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tipton, prodigally to the departments, at a time of high prices, it Webster, White-18.

is well worth our while to inquire whether the time has not Nays—Messrs. Allen, Benton, Black, Brown, Buchan- arrived to lop off and curtail from our expenditure, rather an, Calhoun, Clay of Alabama, Grundy, Hubbard, King than to withhold this instalment from the States. I am of of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Morris, Niles, Pierce, opinion we might save the nine millions of this instalment Rives, Roane, Robinson, Ruggles, Sevier, Smith of Con- by curtailing the extravagant expenditures of the departnecticut, Strange, Walker, Wall, Williams, Wright, ments, and so pay the instalment—not by distressing the Young-27.

States in withholding it, but by introducing a wholesome The question on engrossing the bill as amended, and measure of retrenchment in the expenditure of Government. ordering it to a third reading, was then taken, and decided This, sir, is the ground I take; namely, that it would be in the affirmative, as follows:

far better to curtail our expenditure than to stop the pay. Yeas-Messrs. Allen, Benton, Black, Brown, Buchan ment of this instalınent. an, Calhoun, Clay of Alabama, Fulton, Grundy, Hub. Again, I would ask, does the proposition contained in bard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Morris, this bill go to relieve in any manner the pressure upon the Niles, Pierce, Rives, Roane, Robinson, Ruggles, Sevier, people ? Not in the least, sir. Neither will the GovernSmith of Connecticut, Strange, Walker, Wall, Williams, ment place itself in funds by the operation of this law. Wright-27.

The banks have laid violent hands on the deposites; they NarsMessrs. Bayard, Clayton, Crittenden, Kent, will pay them no longer in the medium they were expected Knight, Lyon, Nicholas, Norvell, Preston, Robbins, Smith to pay them in. Of what use, then, will this bill be to Gov. of Indiana, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tipton, Webster, ernment? The money is locked up in the banks; and the White, Young--18.

wildest enthusiast in favor of this measure would not go The Senate then, on motion of Mr. NICHOLAS, ad so far as to say that by the mere fiat of this body a bill such journed.

as this is going to fill the country with gold and silver.

We have not got the magician's wand, by one touch of Funday, SEPTEMBER 15.

wbich we can make the gold come forth from its hiding Mr. HUBBARD called up the resolution offered by him places. We may call, indeed, by our enactments, the spiryesterday, by which it was proposed that the Senate should

its from the vasty deep; but will they come when we do

call them? meet in future at 10 o'clock.

Will money be obtained for the Government Mr. H. modified his resolution to read, “ that after this when you pass this law? No, sir; we all know that this week, the Senate meet at 11 o'clock, A. M. ;" and this was

bill will bring no money into the Treasury. agreed to.

It would be better, therefore, under such circumstances, FOURTH INSTALMENT.

to let the law go on, and let the States receive the whole

of the deposite. The States, sir, are willing to take the The bill to postpone indefinitely the payment of the instalment in the only medium in which the State institufourth instalınent of the deposite bill, was read a third time; tions are able to pay it. They are not going, at this crisis, and the question being upon its passage,

to clamor for a hard-inoney currency. They will be satisMr. PRESTON, of South Carolina, said he should not fied with receiving the State currency-their own domestic now undertake to make a formal opposition to this bill, as currency. But the President says “no;" and by passing he understood its fate to have been decided on the second this bill, according to his recommendation, you will not reading, and it might be considered as having already puss. let them receive a currency which they are willing to reed. He thought, however, it ought to have met with more ceive. The amount of the instalıent now in the banks discussion than had taken place upon it, and he would there would be useful, in that currency, to them, for they would fore beg the indulgence of the Senate while he briefly ex- gladly receive it; but it will be of no use whatever to the pressed his opinion upon its merits.

Government, for the Government will not receive it. Then, The first inquiry he should make was, whether a case sir, if I may use a homely similitude, by such an enacthad been made out justifying the withholding of this instal ment as this you act the part of the dog in the mangerment of the deposite with the States; and, secondly, he you will not take the money of the States yourselves, and would inquire if, supposing the case had arrived, this was you will not let them have it, though they wish to receive the proper and the most advisable course to be adopted to it. Is this a noble, or even a politic proceeding? Is this assist in replenishing the Treasury.

your reforming the currency? Is this aiding and relieving My opinion (said Mr. P.) decidedly is, that the casus the embarrassments of the people, to stamp a bad name fæderis has not arrived for Congress to encroach upon the upon their currency, to refuse to receive it yourselves, to fund set aside for deposite with the States; and I further pass laws fixing a stigina upon it, and then to forbid others am of opinion that, even if it had now arrived, yet this is to receive it? not the course by which we shall best consult the interests Again, sir: there is another view which I think ought of the country, in attempting to bring relief to the Treasury. to be taken of this subject; and, had it received its due con

Let us briefly consider the history of the deposite act. sideration, such a measure as this could surely never have That act was passed contemporaneously with other acts of been proposed. In fifteen days from now, this instalment most prodigal expenditure. We had a surplus which we will be due to the States. They have already made their knew not how to dispose of. To expend-to get rid of our disposition of the money. It has been disposed of in overflowing funds-was then the order of the day. We various contracts, and been directed to various great and were in the full tide of an inauspicious prosperity, and the useful purposes; and now, suddenly, at this short notice, departments were stimulated and goaded on to find out the expected sum—the sum which the law had pledged to how much they could spend, while the majority in Con-them-is, by another law, to be withheld. But, by the gress seemed to be employed in finding out how much they terms of the deposite law, a specific time was fixed upon could give. The departments asked for twenty millions; and accorded to the States, in which the States were to and Congress, eager to get rid of the surplus, outstripped' have notice of any demand to be made upon them for the

Sept. 15, 1837.)

Fourth Instalment.

[SENATE.

sum deposited. By the law, therefore, they are entitled to that he could have weight enough to change the course of a notice before this fourth instalment can be withdrawn the gentlemen of the majority, or to prevent the passage of from them-for they have already expended it; and this this disastrous bill. All he had desired was, to give brief bill to withhold it is equivalent in its action to taking back expression to his views of it. He had now done so, avd, the money from them, without the notice which the law in doing so, he felt that he had done his duty. provided for.

Mr. CALHOUN said he thought it would be better for Mr. P. then proceeded to show that there were other his colleague (Mr. Presto x) to make a motion at once for and better methods of raising money for the Treasury, the repeal of unexpended appropriations to the amount of without resorting to this expedient, which, while it would nine millions of dollars, the amount of the instalment. be onerous and oppressive to the States, would be, at the There would then be a surplus to that extent, which might same time, virtually useless and unproductive to the Gov go for the payment of the fourth instalinent. If Mr. P. ernment. One mode which he should point out was, that felt unwilling at this stage of the bill to make such a moof an issue of certificates of deposite, which would immedi- tion, he (Mr. C.) would agree to the laying of the bill on the ately provide available funds for the Government, without table in order to give time. He confessed that the idea this measure of withholding an expected and promised in had occurred to him which his colleague had just stated; stalment. Mr. P. remarked that such a provision had but he did not see any probability of such a proposition been originally inserted in the deposite bill; but he greatly being attended with success. He had done his utinost to regretted that, in order to overcome the prejudices of an stop the extravagant course pursued at former sessions in illustrious person, and to make the bill acceptable to granting the appropriations. His efforts had been unsuc. him, (the late President of the United States,) that provi- cessful, and now he thought there was still less chance of sion had been stricken out of the bill, in order to secure its getting back that which it had not been possible to prevent passage and save it from his veto. He also remarked that from being legislated away. He agreed with his colhe should not permit himself now to dwell upon that pain- league that it was entirely usele s to lock up this money. It ful recollection, but should content himself with merely ex would do no good to the Governinent; when, if let go, it pressing his deep regret that so wise and salutary a provi- would do good to the States. sion had been stricken out of the bill from considerations so Mr. CRITTENDEN, of Kentucky, said he fully conindividual, personal, and little.

curred in the views just expressed by the gentleman from If (continued Mr. P.) that wise and salutary measure South Carolina, (Mr. Prestox.] In the State which he had been carried out in the original deposite bill, we should came from, he said, the general opinion was that retrenchnot now be here. The Senate would not now be fatigued ment was wanting, and ought to be exercised in the scvcrwith its present labors, and all the trouble we are now un al departments of the Government. The profusion lo dergoing would have been avoided. The Treasurer would which they were becoining habituated it was time should then have only had to throw the certificates into the mar be checked, and he (Mr. C.) agreed with the honorable ket, to raise what sum he required for the use of the Gov. Senator from South Carolina, (Mr. Preston,] that now emment. Such a course, sir, (observed Mr. P.) would was the time, if ever, to put in force such a necessary rehave been enough and ample to pry up the Government trenchment. Hc (Mr. C.) could not well understand the out of the Slough of Despond in which now it is sunken. reason why any other course should be resorted to; for it Not only would it have given funds to the Government, clearly appeared to him that, by proper retrenchment in but also it would have given relief to the people. It would the expenditures of Government, enough, and more than have thrown money into circulation; it would have bene- enough, might be curtailed from its superfluous disbursefited all parties. It would have been twice blessed, giving ments to make up the amount which the payment of this double relief both to the States which gave the certificates, instalment would require. and to the General Government, which received them. But be (Mr. C.) was at a loss to understand what oli

By this proposition to suspend or postpone the payment ject the Government could have in view by the measure of the instalment, Mr. P. said, no one will be benefited. here proposed. Such was its tenacity for a metallic curHe would venture to suggest how both parties might be rency, so great was its abhorrence of any other media, that benefited, and the issue of Treasury notes might be avoided. it refused to take, or acknowledge as available funds, the Let the clause exscindc from the original deposite bill be money of the country and of the people. It could, therere-enacted; let the States issue their certificates, which will forc, get no available funds by this bill. The banks could be as good as specie to the Government. Let the States not pay its demands now gold or silver, nor were they receive this instalment, and let the Treasury receive the likely to be able to do so for some time to come. Why, certificates, and sell them. In this manner, instead of then, did the Government seek by this bill to deprive the adding to the general distress of the times, both parties | States of funds which were available to them, but which would be eminently benefited. Surely (said Mr. P.) those were altogether unavailable to the Government? He could gentlemen who hold our destinies in their hands, who not comprehend the reasons and motives of such a ineascarry all the measures they please to imaginc, good or bad

If this bill would benefit the Government by making and he (Mr. P.) was sorry to say he could not look back the sum it withholds from the States available to the Genand call all their measures good, nor could he look at this eral Government, there might be, indeed, some reason in measure and deem it either wisc, or good, or politic— it. But why, he asked, take from the States that which surely, he would repeat, those gentlemen ought to be will would benefit them, in order to hand it over to thc General ing to adopt such measures as would be the least distressing, Government, to whom it will confessedly be of no benefit the Icast painful, onerous, and disturbing, at a time of gen- whatever? The State of Kentucky, and other States aiso, eral distress, such as the present, when we are called to. had made provisions for the expenditure of this moneygether to relieve, not to aggravate; to benefit, and not to had already applied it to various great and useful objects, injure; to heal, and not to take vengeance.

relying on the solemn faith of a law of Congress, passed I entreat those gentleinen, therefore, (said Mr. P.,) to after the fullest deliberation by that body. On such a law, take these things into consideration. I entreat them to give not dcerning that it would be lightly broken or rescinded more time to the States—not to stop the payment of this upon the first pretext, Kentucky had built her expectation ins alment; I entreat thein to let the money go where it of this money, and had acted upon that expectation, and might almost be considered a vested right it should go. had disposed of it by anticipation. Therefore, not only on Mr. P. concluded by saying he was sorry to have detained the ground that this money would not be available to the the Senate at this stage of the bill; he had not expected ' General Government was this bill objectionable, but also

VOL. XIV.-3

[ocr errors]

arc.

SENATE.)

Fourth Instalment.

(Sept. 15, 1837.

on the ground that its present withdrawal from the States recognise our money, our funds, our credit, and will only would be highly injurious and inconvenient to them. On receive gold and silver. It is not willing to go hand in hand this ground the bill, in his view, was eminently objection with the people in aiding and assisting to support and susable.

tain that credit which is the life and soul of the business, Was the faith pledged by an act of Congress to be so trade, and commerce of the nation. lightly broken? Was an expectation, based upon such Again, sir, let me expose another monstrous idea which ground, to be with such indifference and facility disap seems to possess the gentlemen who have brought forward pointed? Was it worth no effort-no exertion-no trou and those who advocate this bill—an erroneous idea indeed, ble, to keep a promise to stand by a law? to fulfil an en of which it were well that they were dispossessed ; and it gagement? The States were invited to accept this de is this, sir: they seem to imagine that this money belongs posite; it was no boon of their soliciting; and now, after it to the Government. Not so, sir, (said Mr. C.;) far from has been offered after it has been promised-after it has it: it belongs to the States—it belongs to the people, from been accepted after it has been spent-after numberless whom the Government has gathered and collected it; but schemes and plans for its employment, all beneficial to the which gathering and collecting did not make it its own. States, have been devised and settled, and are waiting the Therefore, sir, in addition to the many strong reasons why payment of this fourth instalment for their completion—is this money should not be withheld from us, the reason it now the time to recede from our engagement? Is it now above all is, that it is our own money. the tiine to break a pronise? Is it now the time to violate The President of the United States, in his message, had a pledge, and say that you have not got the money? read a lecture on economy to Congress and to the people Might it not be replied, You have got the money, but you of this country, and had told them that the distress and will not let the States have it! Such, in fact, would be exigency of the times which have brought us here are to the effect of the passage of this bill! Yes, sir, the money be attributed to the extravagance of the people. Now, sir, is there; the money is in the banks; the States are willing it is very strange that it never occurred to the President to receive it; but Congress interposes, and, by this bill, that economy was, of all things, that in which the Governsays “ No, you shall not receive it.”

ment itself was most deficient; that economy was especially We are told by the supporters and advocates of this bill needed to be put in practice by it; that the tide of prodithat it must be passed, because it would be highly impoli- gality and high expenditure of millions upon millions, in tic to borrow inoney in order to deposiie it with the States. which it had of late years indulged, it was now high time This, sir, is not the correct view of the case; this is not a should be stopped. Strange, sir, is it that the President, fair statement of the question; this, sir, is not the question before he made this charge upon the people, did not look at all. The question is this: The States have been led to to the crying necessity for reform and economy in the Goy. expect this fund, on the faith of a law; they have made ernment itself. improvements, entered into contracts, incurred expenses In a time of distress like this, when the Government on the expectation of receiving this money, pledged to them gives to the people such lessons of economy, what conduct by the law; and now, sir, the question is, “is there no do we behold in the Government? Any approach, sir, to right on the part of the States—is there no obligation on economy? No, sir, pone whatever; on the contrary, all the part of the General Government to fulfil the law?" the recommendations of the message, and all the measures Shall the law be set aside on the mere plea of inconveni- of the administration, are, notwithstanding the people's disence? That, sir, is the question—the great question! tress, and notwithstanding the lessons of economy read to Whether a solemn law shall be fulfilled—whether a pledge them by the President, directed and aimed at the one single shall be redeemed-whether a promise shall be performed and only object of filling the Treasury with money-of whether there exists any obligation to fulfil promises given, keeping the Government going—of providing means for a and not to disappoint expectations gratuitously raised! profuse and wild extravagance of expenditure. Before we Shall we be told, sir, that there exists no such obligation? vote for the issue of Treasury notes, I feel it my duty, sir, It is, in my view, the highest obligation which attaches to to inquire to what extent retrenchment may not be carried any Government. Now, in answer to this, we are met by into the expenditures of the departments. All eyes are the plea of convenience. We are told it would be very in- turned upon you; the people look to you for relief; and what convenient to fulfil this coutract with the States; that money do we behold? Why, sir, all the inquiry made, all the will have to be borrowed for the purpose; and, therefore, measures proposed, are merely how to fill the Treasury since it would not be quite convenient to fulfil the obliga- with money! Sauve qui peut! is the cry of the Governtion, the obligation ought to be broken, and the faith of All its efforts are directed to help itself, to save it. the law violated!

self; to cut loose from the general wreck, and leave the But there is also another plea for this measure. country to help itself as it best may be able. Is this the derstand gentlemen to say that there is not money enough duty of a Government? --when we come here for the exin the Treasury to pay this fourth instalment. But, sir, press purpose of giving relief, then only to bring forward a laying aside the question how far such an argument vught bill like this, to withhold money from the States; and other to prevail to induce the violation of a solemn engagement, i bills, as bad in their principle, to raise more money from let us ask, as to the fact, whether there are indeed no them, in order to sustain, and help, and fill the Treasury, funds for the purpose of meeting this engagement? On while nothing is done or thought of for the people? looking over the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. BROWN said he had not intended, at that stage of (said Mr. C.,) I only find a probability spoken of. He the bill, to delay its early passage by any remarks of his; says there may probably be a deficit, and not that there is. but in consequence of the observations which had fallen The argument, therefore, is divested of its main strength from the two gentlemen who in the course of that morning and that is, of the absolute fact necessary to sustain it. had addressed the Senate, he would take the occasion to But, sir, if there are no funds adapted to the wants of the make a few reiparks in reply, and in justification of the vote General Government, there are funds which the States which it was his purpose to give on the measure then bewould willingly receive. They have confidence in the fore them. banks; they would receive their paper. They are not en In addition to the arguments which had already been gaged in warfare against them; they do not wish to destroy urged, and which to his mind were conclusive, in favor of them, and to destroy the credit of the country and of the withholding the fourth instalment payable to the several people; while, on the other hand, there are no funds for the States on the 1st of October, under the deposite act, use of the General Government, only because it will not another argument, entitled to still more weighty considera

ment.

I un

Sept. 15, 1837.)

Fourth Instalment.

(SENATE.

on it.

tion, had decided his mind in favor of that course. If we indispensable to aid the Government in the performance refuse to pass the bill having that object in view, the obli- of its legitimate functions. gation will unavoidably devolve on Congress to provide the It had not been without some surprise that he had heard means to meet the payment of the instalment which will the charge of harsh and unjust treatment towards the otherwise become due to the States, the available means of States, in reference to the proposed measure especially, the Treasury being inadequate for that purpose. Now he brought against the General Government. Was it nothing (Mr. B.) could not see in any part of the constitution the that it had in the space of a few months past divided power to raise money, and, of necessity, the power to tax among the States near thirty millions of dollars? Was the our constituents to pay the money thus raised, for the mere distribution of this immense amount among the States (for purpose of depositing it in the treasuries of the several he regarded it, practically and in point of fact, as a distriStates. The power to raise money was limited to the ob- bution) to be considered nothing? Or was it in this act jects and duties with which the General Government was that gentlemen found reason to complain of oppression, on charged by the constitution; and in no part of that instru- the part of the General Government, against the States? ment was the power to be found, either by express grant or He really thought, if gentlemen would take a dispassionate implication, to raise it for any such purpose. It could review of the conduct of the General Government towards not be pretended that to raise money for such purpose was the States, in its pecuniary transactions with them, if they to carry into effect any power belonging to the General did not find all their most extravagant expectations realized, Government. To his mind, therefore, it was a palpable they would at least find enough, in the magnitude of the violation of the constitution to exercise such power, which distribution which had been made, to exempt the General they unquestionably would have to do, in providing the Government from the harsh censure which they had cast means to meet the remaining instalment, if its payment should not be postponed. He drew a distinction between The gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Crittenden) has the power of Congress to authorize the deposite of a sur taken strong exceptions to what he has been pleased to term plus in the State treasuries which already existed, and the the paternal advice given us by the President, in his mespower to raise money for the sole purpose of thus deposit sage, against the increasing luxury and extravagance in ing it. It was in that point of view that he deemed the the mode of living, which are rapidly diffusing themselves deposite act of last year justifiable; that act had, in the throughout our country; and thinks that it would have been course of its execution, exhausted the surplus, which was more becoming in him to have set an example of economy the true object Congress had in view in passing it; and, and retrenchment, by the introduction of those principles baving fulfilled its great end, he was of opinion its further into his administration, before he ventured his advice on operation should now cease. He thought the gentleman such sul cts. It was true (said Mr. B.) that the Presifrom South Carolina (Mr. PrestoN] would have much dent had—not in the way of advice, as had been suggested difficulty in reconciling the vote which he had announced by the gentleman, but in tracing the causes which had led his intention to give on this question, with the doctrines of to the present embarrassed condition of the country--enua strict construction of the constitution, of which he had merated that, among many others, in connexion with the heretofore professed himself a zealous advocate. He called inflated paper system existing in this country and in Eng. on that gentleman to show what constitutional authority land, which, acting and re-acting on each other, have, in Congress had to pass a law raising money, not in execution conjunction with the cause first mentioned, mainly conof any of its conceded powers, but for the avowed purpose tributed to produce the existing evils—evils which all exof being deposited with the States. It had been argued by perience, in both countries, proves belong to the paper systhe same gentleman that strong expectations had been cre tem, and periodically recur under it, no matter in what ated anong the States that the instalment which it is now form it exists, whether in the shape of a national bank or proposed to withhold wonld be paid over to them, and that of State institutions. He would, however, before finishan equitable obligation was imposed on Congress not to ing his reply to the censure which had been cast on the disappoint those expectations. He contended that the idea President for this remark, take the occasion to say to the of an equitable obligation on Congress to pay over the gentleman from Kentucky, if he would unite in carrying money was utterly destroyed by the power given to the out the recommendation of the President to withhold the Secretary of the Treasury in the deposite act to call on fourth instalment to the States, that it would be taking a the States, under certain restrictions, for the repayment step of no little importance towards bringing the Governof the sums deposited with them. The power thus given ment back to economy and retrenchment. The state of to that officer by the act in question was, in effect, a notice the case between the views of the President and the gento the States that the Government of the United States tleman from Kentucky, in relation to the measure alluded might want the money deposited with them; and, in that to by him, was simply this: the President recomniends the event, would require its repayment. He considered the passage of a law postponing the payment of the fourth insame notice as substantially applicable as regarded the in stalment to the States, amounting to some nine or ten milstalment yet unpaid, and was, in itself, a very significant lions, and which the Government, not having the means indication that Congress would withhold any part of the to satisfy, owing to the default of the deposite banks, will money unpaid, should a contingency arise making it neces- necessarily, if paid, have to provide the means by going sary to do so. That contingency had arisen, making it | in debt for that sum; while the gentleman from Kentucky proper, in his opinion, to withhold that which remained un insists on the payment of the instalment to the States, the paid; but he trusted that none would arise making it neces. effect of which would be to compel the Government to sary to call on the States for that portion of the surplus raise the necessary means, either by an issue of Treasury revenue already deposited with them.

notes or in some other manner. Now, he would submit it Besides the constitutional objection to raising money for to the impartial decision of any one to determine who was the purpose of depositing it with the States, the unavoidable for economy and retrenchment, and who was for extrava. consequence of providing for the payment of the remaining gant expenditure—the President of the United States, or instalment to them would be to lay the foundation of a new the honorable Senator himself? national debt; than which nothing, in his opinion, would We have been told, with much emphasis, (said Mr. B.) be more preposterous, when resorted to for the unauthor- that although Congress had been specially convoked by the ized purpose of dividir.g money among the States. He President, yet no measure of relief had been recommendwould in no event vote for any measure leading to the cre ed for the people; that it was all for the Government. ation of a national debt, unless it could be made to appear While he would say that this declaration was unsustained

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »