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hopes, our common interests, and our common recollections, to pause before the reckless measure be accomplished.
The third resolution is in these words :
“ Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That we approve of the communication made by the President of the United States to his Cabinet on the eighteenth of September last, and of the reasons given by the Secretary of the Treasury relative to the removal of the deposits."
Sir, to what limit of legislative self-abandonment is it proposed to us to go? Last year, in a debate upon the proceedings of the convention in South Carolina, another senator* and myself protested against adopting, in gross, an argumentative report, although made by a committee of this house. We had the success then, (unusual success for that senator and myself on such occasions,) to prevail upon the Senate to limit their approval to the general views and conclusions of a contradictory and unmeaning report. And what have we now before us? We are called upon to adopt and approve an official document, not of this house, nor even pertaining to this state, merely because it bears the President's name: although, when solemnly called upon by the Senate of the United States, he has refused to acknowledge it; a document for the authenticity of which we have only the imprint of a partisan newspaper; a document contradicted, too, by the other paper with which it is associated in the resolution, and by the annual message of the President to Congress. Sir, we do not pass a bill for a turnpike road, though it be introduced by a member of the house, until it is twice read, referred to a committee, reported upon by them, submitted to a committee of the whole house, and again solemnly read. And yet this document has never been, and in this house never will be, once read; it has been referred to no committee, and we are indebted, we are told, to courtesy to the minority for its being printed one day before we are required to discuss it. Sir, you will search in vain through your voluminous journals for a precedent for such legislation as this. And if you go back to the history of that country from which we derive our forms of legislative proceeding, you will look in vain for a parallel, until you reach the history of that pliant parliament which successively tendered its approval and ratification of the successive marriages and divorces of Henry VIII. Sir, there is no name in this nation which could exact so humiliating a sacrifice of legis
* The Hon. Albert H. Tracy.
lative dignity as this, but the name of Andrew Jackson. And now, “ in the name of all the gods at once,” who is this Andrew Jackson that we “must bend our knees if he but look on us nay, that we must thus propitiate the condescension of a lookthat, “when he bids” us, aye, unbidden, we must "mark him, and write his speeches in our books ?” Is he greater than the father of our country? And yet, in all the enthusiasm of national gratitude for independence bestowed upon us, was never so humiliating a sacrifice offered to WASHINGTON? He, sir, would have spurned the legislature of a free state that would have laid such a resolution at his feet.
Sir, it is settled, whether wisely or unwisely, that the circulating medium of the country must be a paper currency. The condition of that currency concerns every man's weal in the land. When it is unsound, it produces those hard times which we have often only imagined, but are now experiencing. When it is sound, it produces those good times, the enjoyment of which makes us forgetful of the cause which produced them. That currency, when healthful, raises the value of your bank stock; it adds to the value, not only of the annual products of your farms, but of the farms themselves. Upon its condition it may depend whether your merchandise, judiciously prosecuted, shall be profitable or unprofitable, and whether your manufacturing or mechanical operations shall yield a reward for your industry ; whether you be able to collect your credits, or pay your debts. That currency has, until recently, been a long time sound and uniform, and the world has never witnessed a scene of greater prosperity than has been exhibited in this country. That currency has, at one period of our history, been diseased, and then it brought on a train of evils for which legislative wisdom in vain tried the efficacy of relief laws; a state of suffering from which there was no escape but the return by the road of penance to a national bank, to produce a healthful and uniform state of the currency. So, sir, it will be now, with the only difference, that the aggravation of our distress will be proportioned to our recent unprecedented prosperity. That currency, sir, obeys no administration; the laws of its action are absolute and certain. It has none of the subserviency of secretaries, of political congresses, or of partisan legislatures. It owes no allegiance to him whom men call King Caucus; it is governed by no tsages or customs of " the party.” It defies the thunders of government newspapers, those ministerial vaticans whose anathemas infer political death. It despises “the voice of New York," and is reckless even of “the voice of the People.” This mysterious and arrogant power can be subjected by one agent, if he be strong, wise, prudent, faithful and persevering. That agent is he who, with the requisite amount of funds and credit at his command, in all the different parts of this extended country, and with specie always in its vaults, will diligently watch the motions of the currency, and with untiring industry, faithfully, and at all times, either free of charge, or at nominal expense, transfer funds redundant in one part of the Union, to supply deficiencies elsewhere. To accomplish this purpose, the agent must have, not the favor of the executive, nor yet the ear of the ministry, before or behind the throne, nor will even popular acclamation answer his need; he must have the confidence of men of capital and enterprise in this and in foreign countries. His bonds or notes must be esteemed as secure as his vaults. Such an agent, we have had; it was the Bank of the United States. The funds it had were its capital and the deposits of the government. Its bond brought specie at its need from every part of the globe, and its notes in every section of this country were more valued than the precious metals. Sir, that agent you have dismissed; you have substituted thirty or forty of feebler and distracted power in its place. These act without concert, without responsibility, and without credit. The evil was almost instantaneously felt; you denied it at first, then confessed it, then promised it would abate; and still it goes on increasing, and will go on increasing, until your industry is paralyzed, and your commerce arrested in all your market towns on the seaboard. The reproof of your error now reaches you from every commercial city in the land. You know it will come louder and bolder, and ere you have closed your duties here, it will visit the homes of your constituents. Yes, you will return to them to witness the depreciation of farms and merchandise, and the general gloom which mutual distrust and individual apprehension can so effectually produce. Your banks having extended their discounts to their utmost limits, will close their vaults, and the application for renewals and additional loans will be answered by the visits of the sheriff to the houses of the debtors. The usurer will be abroad in the country, as he is now in your cities. You have disturbed and deranged that subtle currency, and its vibrations will shake and unsettle all business transactions. You know it: you anticipate the complaints and the rebuke of your constituents; and you seek to deceive yourselves; and then, self-convinced, you honestly deceive them by laying the evil at the door of the United States Bank, which, during all this pressure, has been, with all the power you have left it, discounting freely to relieve the people. You may for a while deceive them and yourselves; but in the extreme of suffering, they will awake to the conviction that these evils come from the reckless sacrifice of their prospects, hopes and enjoyments in a political warfare in which they had nothing to gain, and the calamities of which were sure to fall upon themselves. Then you will have to give better reasons for your votes on these resolutions than were given in the House of Assembly, or than have yet been given in this house.
Having now, Mr. President, stated generally the grounds of my opposition to the passage of these several resolutions, it remains, of the plan I had marked out for myself in this debate, to consider briefly the reasons assigned by the President and Secretary for the removal of the deposits. I have necessarily anticipated some of them, but will carefully avoid repetition.
We are informed by the President and Secretary, that the removal of the deposits was directed because it was required “by the public convenience, and would promote the public interest.” And what is assigned as the inconvenience to be remedied? It is alleged that the deposits would have been unsafe, had they been suffered to remain in the Bank of the United States. Grant me patience if I cannot suppress my astonishment at this assertion. A bank with 35,000,000 of capital actually paid in, and still remaining there unwasted, prohibited from loaning a dollar of that capital or of the deposits, a less safe place for deposits than the same bank when engaged in promiscuous and widely-extended loans, to the amount of double its capital! If there is a merchant in my hearing, let him come and learn financial wisdom from this document! When you have amassed millions by the hazards of trade, and your capital and all the funds your credit can command are afloat upon the seas, beware how you withdraw that capital and call in your debts! The career of prosperity is safe if you continue your hazards, but bankruptcy and ruin will stare you in the face when prudence shall dictate to cease acquisition, and to invest your capital and gains !
And now, sir, let us look at this act in all its magnitude. The President has thrust out of office the agent appointed by Congress, because, in his discretion, he conscientiously refused to remove the deposits. He has put into his place a man who avows that he acts, not as the agent of Congress, but of the President. He has withdrawn the revenues from the bank, and has placed them in depositories unknown to the law. He has disturbed the currency, and thus prematurely brought distress and suffering upon the nation, in the moment of its highest prosperity; and all because the President could not wait sixty days out of four years for the action of Congress.
be true, as has been said here, that this legislature will approve of these after-thought reasons of the President and his de bene esse Secretary; for, for aught I know, this legislature may, as the act of approval would indicate, repose more confidence in one man, than in some two hundred and fifty representatives of the people. Such opinions are not new, but they have been always less popular on this side of the Atlantic than on the other, and are less popular there than heretofore. I must be excused from becoming a convert to this monarchical creed, until Congress adopt and approve these documents. When that shall be done, I will agree with the majority of this House, that legislative bodies are an undue hindrance upon executive action. On the first attempt to reassume their constitutional prerogative, the President will enter their halls, like Cromwell, and say, “I command you to begone about your business, for the Lord hath no further need of
But, sir, there are considerations appertaining to this subject, and arising from the peculiar opinions of those whom I address, which ought not to be forgotten here. The President has pronounced judgment against the bank, and this legislature has constituted itself a court to review that judgment. Let us then proceed in the investigation of the matter, with the aid of those forms of judicial proceeding so conducive to the attainment of correctness, certainty, and justice. Who is the defendant? The Bank of the United States. I will, sir, at the hazard of being denounced as a “feed advocate” of the bank, pro hac vice, offer myself as counsel, and notwithstanding what I have before said as to the impropriety of these resolutions, because they do not come within the scope of your duties, will nevertheless waive all plea to the