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that they had never been apprised that Mr. It appears that Messrs. Webb and Noah a. Burrows had obtained this loan from the bank, vowed themselves in favor of a renewal of the until a very short time previous to the visit of charter of the Bank of the United States on this committee to Philadelphia. They had, the 8th of April, 1831. It is difficuli, there. until that time, been under the impression that fore, to conceive what possible influence could the money was obtained from the father of Mr. have been produced upon their course by a
Silas E. Burrows, in Connecticut. The loan to Mr. Burrows, of which they had no I following extract from the testimony of Mr. knowledge. It is equally difficult to perceive Biddle will exbibit a clear view of this transac. how the loans of August and December, 1831,
could have had any possible agency in produc. " These notes were discounted by the ex- ing the change which it is alleged took place change committee under the resolutions just in the course of these editors upwards of four referred to. They were done at the request months before. of Mr. Silas E. Burrows, of New York. "Mr. Under all the circumstances of this case, the Burrows had, sometime before, brought minority of the committee declare, without any me a particular letter of introduction from an reserve, that there is nothing in these transacold friend, Mr. Monrne, the Ex President. Mr. tions calculated to induce them to doubt the Burrows had been very liberal 10 Mr Monroe honor and integrity of the directors, and this, in bis pecuniary mi.fortunes, and he had re. they feel authorised to say, is the opinion of a cently received from the President of the U. majority of the committee, from the opinion al. States particular thanks and commendations for really publicly expressed of one of its mem. his generous conduct towards a Rus:ian ship bers.* ' They also deem it to be due to the oc. of war. I understood him to be a very rich casion, and to their own sense of justice, that merchant of kind and benevolent disposition, they should ad !, that, they do not believe there and constantly engaged in doing acts of libe-exists in the United States a bank direction rality. In one of his visits 10 Philadelphia, he composed of more upright, independent, and said, he was desirous of befriending Mr. Noah, honest men, then that which granted the loans and assisting him in the purchase of a share in a in question. newspaper, and he asked if the bank would Husi, if not all of them, are men of indepen. discount the notes of these parties, adding that, dent fortunes, having no connection with poli. although, as a merchant, he did not wish to ap.tics, and being entirely independent of banks. pear as a borrower, or put his name on a paper They are generally men who are engaged in a not mercantile, yet he would at any time do safe and successful business, with fortunes, so whenever it might be necessary to secure which they have made, not by adventurous spe. the bank.” “ The committee being authoris- culations, but by steady industry and moderate ed to discount any paper, the security of which but certain profits. This is, indeed, the gene. they might approve, agreed to do them. As ral character of the merchants and capitalists of Mr. Burrows was going out of town I gave bım Philadelphia, a circumstance which renders the the money out of my owo funds, and ihe nodes Socation or the bank in that city peculiarly for. were afterwards put in my possession. They tunate for the s:ockholders and fur the country. remained with me for a long time, as I had no The next subject brought to the view of the occasion to use the funds, nor was it till the House by the report of the majority, which it close of the year that my attention was called to is now deemed necessary to notice, is that of them by the circumstarce that, as a new buard the transactions of the bank with Thomas Bid. of directors, and a new committee of exchange dle & Co. would soon be appointed, the same committee Mr. Thomas Biddle, the principal member which made the loan should consummale it. of the firm, is a distant relation of the presi. 1 bad seen, also, in the public prints, maliy re-vent of the bank, and it was owing to this cir. proaches against the bank for lend.ng money cumstance, probably, that his accounts under. to printers and editors, and I was unwilling went a most prying, not to say inquisitorial, that any loan made by the bank should seem to examination. be a private loan from one of its offi ers. Have Tire first thing that struck the attention of a ing no use for the money, it woulu have been part of the committee, as worthy of scrujiny, was perfectly convenient to let the loan remain as the fact, that this Houise had obtained from the it was, but I thought it right that every thing bank, in August, 1831, loans to the amount of done by the bank siould always be distinctly upwards of a million of dollars, on a pledge of known and avowed, and I therefore gave the stocks,-a sum which had been gradually re. notes to the chairman of the comm tice, air. duced, however, to about six hundred thousand Thomas P. Cope, who entered them on the dollars. books. On the 20 day of March, Mr. Bur. On examination, it was found that this loan WW, called at the bank and paid the notes. I had been made at the special instance and ur. ought to add that the loan was made at the re- gent solicitation of the directors of the bank; guest of Mr. Burrows, and that 'neither I nor and that the bank, and not Thomas Biddle any of the committee had ever seen Mr. .owh & Co., was the party accommodated. The Go. ar dr. Webb, or had any communication with vernment having then recently paid off several them direct or indirect about ihe loan. It millions of its stock, which the bauk had ownWas made on the credit of Mr. Burrows, wbo afterwards paid it.”
• Col. R. M. Johnson.
ed, the consequence was, that a large portion was not one word of truth in it from the begin.
gested to Mr. Biddle, that he was, about the All the directors, who were examined on the ime of this alleged transaction, in the city of subject, s'aled that they considered this trans. Washington. On examining the journals of action more for the benefit and accommodation the board and the letter book, it was found by of the bank, than of Thomas Biddle & Co.; and entries and letters, that for several days previ. the president of the Bank of Pennsylvania stat- ous to the alleged interview between the presi
. ed, on oath, that the bank over which he pre. dent and Whitney, and for several days aftersided, would have been very glad to have ward., the president was absent on a visit to made Jarge loans to Thomas Biddle & Co., at this city, on the business of the bank, and Gethe same time, and upon the same terms, the neral Cadwallader' was acting as president in bis board of directors of that bank having authoris- place! ed such luans at 45 per cent.
Thus was this artfully devised story, which There was one occurrence during the exa- was intended to blast the reputation of a highmination of the transactions of Thomas Biddle minded and honorable man, through one of & Co., with the bank, which merits particular those extraordinary interpositions, by which notice.
Providence sometiines contounds the contrivan. An informer and witness, by the name of ces of the wicked, made to recoil upon the Whitney, who had formerly been a director of head of its inventor, who must for ever stand the bank, was prod&ced, who declared, upon forth as a blasted monument of the speedy and oath, that, in July, 1824, two of the cashiers of retributive justice of heaven. the bank, and one of the discount clerks, had in
The minority of the committee will avail formed him that Thomas Biddle & Co. had been themselves of this occasion to say, that they in the habit of drawing money out of the bank, had the must conclusive evidence, that in all on a deposite of stock in the teller's drawer, the transactions of the bank with Thomas Biddle without paying interest ; and that the presi. & Co. and Charles Biddle, the president has dent of the bank had discounted two notes, one been, not only free from the slightest imputa. for Thomas Biddle & Co., and one for Charlestion of partiality or favoritism, bui that his con. Biddle, without the authority of the directors. duct his been invariably governed by a nice
This witness stated, that he went with these of. and scrupulous sense of delicacy and proprie. ficers of the bank, and examined the teller's ty. And this they feel authorized to say, is the drawer and the discount book, and found the opinion of a majority of the committee. The facts which had been stated to him verified by following resolution was unanimously adopted the examination. lle also stated, to give ad. by the c immittee: ditional certainty to his averments, that he made Resolved, that the charge brought against a memorandum at the time, with the dates of the president, of lending money to Thomas the transactions, which themorandum he pro. Biddle & Co. without interest, and of discountduced to the committee. Having thus un l'er. ing notes for that house, and for Charles Biddle, ably fixed the date of the transaction, as if by without the sanction of the directors, are with. some fatality, he went on to say, that he imme. out foundation; and that there does, not exist diately proceeded into the room of Mr. Biddle, any ground for charging the president with the president, and remonstrated with him having shown, or manifested any disposition to against these irregular proceedings ; and that show, any partiality to these individuals, in Mr. Biddle promised him that they should not their transactions with the bank. occur again.
The report of the majority, adverting to the Mr. Biddle was present during the examina. withdrawal of specie from the southern and westtion of this witness. On that day, being on ern branches, and the substitution of paper is onth, he said, that he was utierly astonished at its slearl, suggests a doubt whether this opera the testimony the witness, and could only tion may not be highly injurious to the southoppose to it his solemn declaration, that therel era and westeru States. So far from concur
ring in this doubt, the minority are of the opi- cumulations and credits in Europe, the means
, tu the undoubted advantage of the com-commerce has had time to correct its own ex. munity.
cesses; importations have been diminished, the With a view to connect itself more com- unfavorable state of the foreign exchanges no pletely with the commercial operations of the longer exists; specie has ceased to flow from country, the bank has also deemed it expe. the country, and has begun to flow into it. dient to deal freely in foreign exchange. It is Since March last the specie in the bank has in. obvious that this branch of its business is as creased more than a million of dollars, and eve. important to the foreign commerce of the ry thing is rapidly assuming a sound and healthy country
, as dealing in domestic exchange condition. is to our internal commerce.
The majority, in the concluding part of their Having heretofore had large funds in Europe, report, intimate the opinion that the bank, by and having still extensive credits there, it has its imprudent and excessive issues, has had a been, and still is, the policy of the bank to af. considerable agency in producing the overford to the mercantile community every facility trading and excessive importations of the last for carrying on foreign commerce. At the year. south, where the staples of exportation are Whatever show of plausibility there may be produced, it is constantly in the market as a in this opinion, facts demonstrate that it is enpurchaser of bills on Europe, to the great tirely erroneous. It will be seen from the benefit of ibe planter; and at the north, statements here with exhibited, that the domeswhere foreign merchandise is imported, it is as tic discounts of the bank had not increased constantly in the market as a seller, to the like perceptibly, from March, 1829, to March, benefit of the importing merchant. In this way 1831; but that they maintained an almost unithe price of foreign bills is 'kept uniform and forin level during the whole of the intervening seady, and those injurious Auctuations are period. The excessive importations, however, prevented which would otherwise operate as commenced in March and April, 1831, and beavy taxes upon the business classes of the must have had their origin in causes some community for the benefit only of private deal- months anterior. It is apparent, therefore,
that these excessive importations were not proThe majority of the committee have selected duced by the excessive issues of the bank, and for commentary, a particular branch of the fo. must have originated in other causes connected reign exchange business of the bank--that with the state of Europe. The more correct which is connected with the trade of India anıl view of the subject, is to consider the excessive South America. This subject has been alrea. importations as producing a state of things dy explained in another form, and it will be which rendered it necessary for the bank to sufficient to remark here that it has almost en. extend its discounts, with a view to relieve the tirely arrested the direct exportation of specie community from the temporary pressure to from this country to China, and that it saves to which it was thus exposed. this branch of our trade the whole of the inter It so happened, that at the very time the est upon the entire amount of every commer. country stood most in need of bank accommo. cial adventure, for at least six months out of dations, the bank had increased means and intwelve. On the subject of the general facili ducements to extend those accommodations. ties which the bank has afforded to the country, The government having paid off, within the in the operations of foreign commerce, the last eighteen months, ten millions of its stock, minority of the committee will refer the House which was held by the bank, the directors to the perspicuous exposition furnished by the found that if they did not increase their dispresident, of the general operations of the in-counts considerably, some miilions of their stitution, which is here with submitted and mark. capital must be idle and unproductive. It thus ed A.
happened that the wants of the community, It will be seen from this document that du. the means of the bank, anil, it may be added, ring the recent pressure upon the commercial the obligation of the directors to the stock. community, produced by the excessive impor. holders and to the community, all co operated tations of the last two years, the bank farnisti..o call for that extension of bank acconmodaed, since September last, "from its own actions, which, so far from having produced uver
eps in exchange.
trading and excessive importations, has been ment of the relative resources and responsihility the means of correcting and mitigating the of the bank in 1819, and at the present time, temporary evils and embarrassments which the report expresses the opinion that " al no these irregularties of trade would otherwise period in 1819, when the bank was very near have unavoidably pr duced.
suspending payment, was it less able to extend The minority of the committee deem it to be relief to a suffering community, as (than?] at their indispensable duty to notice that part of the present moment." the report of the majority, which institutes a Now,' the very complaint urged by a part of comparison between the resources of the bank the committee against the bank is, íhat it has and the condition of the country in 1819 and been too liberal in its discounts, or, in other at the present time. They cannot but regard words, that it has granted too much relief to a the comparison thus presented by the report, suffering community already; and yet it is here as unfair and partial, and calculated to produce set down, as a subject of lamentation, that the impressions on the public mind as absolutely bank is not able to extend this relief still further! erroneous as they would be positively per. The country has just been laboring under a con nicious.
siderable, but temporary pressure upon the If it had been the design of the majority to money market, during which the batık, with as produce a scene of general embarrassment and much liberality as judgment, has put forth all distress in the commercial community, in the lits resources to sustain and relieve the commerabsence of any natural causes for such a state cial community. The crisis of this pressure of things, they could not have adopted a more has already passed by, and the necessities of effectual means of accomplishing such an oblihe merchant for bank accommodations are ject than they have done in this part of their gradually diminishing; and it is precisely at this report.
point that a part of the committee, having comFortunately, however, for the country, the plained that the bank went too far in its eccommercial community of the United States commodations when they were necessary, com. have 100 much intelligence to be thrown into a plain, also, that it cannot go still further, now panic by the loose, disjointed, and garbled that the emergency is passing away, statements, the crude speculations, and the ran. The actual resources of the bank will now dom conjectures, in which a part of the com- be slated, with a view to show its perfect abili
. mittee have thought it expeclient to indulge. !y to meet all its engagements. The specie in If a general alarm has not ensued, prolucing a lits vanılts on the first of the present month, was run upon the banks, a curtailment of discounts, $7,890,347, being upwards of a million more and a general scene of failure and distress, par. than it was in March last. ticularly among the government debtors in our There was due, then, from the State banks, principal importing cities, it is because the com. $726, 196. The domestic bills of exchange munity understand the subject better than a held by the back on the 1st of May, amounted portion of the committee, and have placed a to $23,052,972, ten millions of which will be proper estimate on their statements and specu- paid in the course of a month, and none of lations.
wnich have a longer period to run than ninety There are no two periods of our commercial days. These sums united, make $31,669,515, history so utterly dissimilar as those which have a fund, the greater part of which may be con. been selected for the comparison instituted by sidered as available for any probable emergena part of the committee. In 1819, the bank cy of the bank, as s' much specie in its vaults
, was engaged in the painful but necessary of. These domestic bills of exchange are founded fice of currecting a redundant and depreciated upon the actual operations of our internal trade, currency, produced by political causes, and and are in fact drawn in anticipation of the having scarcely any connection with the state of southern and southwslern crops, which regu. trade.
larly arrive in the northern and eastern cities in At this moment, whatever may be said to the kime to pay them. They are uniformly and contrary, our currency is in as sound a state as promptly paid at their maturity, without any that of any country in the world; and this is expectation of a renewed accommodation from conclusively proved by the state of our foreign the bank, as in the case of discounted notes. exchanges, and the relative value of bank pa- In addition to the sum already stated, the bank per and coin in our own markets. The foreign las goud notes discounted on payment, and exchange is an infallible barometer to indicale other security, amounting to $47,375,078, and the soundness or unsour.dness of our currency. real estate and foreign bills, amounting 10 A reference to the state of the exchange be- $3,012,825. tween this country and Great Britain, at this The whole of the available resources of the time, will furnish a conclusive reply to the bank will be thus seen to amount to $82,057,charge brought against the bank, of having en. 438, at least one balf of wbich could, ou any couraged overtrading by excessive issues, and a emergency, be converted into cash, in the depreciated currency.' In fact, specie is now course of a few months. On the other hand,
flowing into the country, by the natural course the whole amount of the responsibilities of the of trade, a phenomenon which is utterly incon. bank, including the circulation, foreign debt, sistent with the alleged depreciation of our and public and private deposites, amount to currency.
only 43,685,603. After making a partial and imperfect state so that, instead of being reduced to the
frightful predicament of baving only "an ag- losses sus'ained by the bank have been owing gregate of $9,640,000 to meet an aggregate re. to the mismanagement of the branches. sponsibility of $42,643,000,” which ihe author The opinion of Mr. Cheves was founded on of the report might well set down with two the peculiar state of things which existed at the notes of almiration, the bank has undoubted re!ime. He felt the difficulty of controlling these sources amounting to $82,057,438, to meet a branches, of which, as he stated, the direc. responsibility of $43,685,60.3.
tors were frequently governed by individual In the actual state of the country it is visiona- and local interests and feelings ;" and he came ry in the extreme to imagine the bank is in the into the administration at a time when immense slightest danger of being reduced to the neces. lusses had been suffered by their mal-admini. sity of " suspending payment.” The whole stration. But it is very important to remarkamount of its circulation is now only $22,000,. what the report does not bring to view that al000, and this is the only portion of its respoasi most all the disproportionate losses incurred by bility which can be properly taken into the est:se branches were previous to 1819 ; and that, tímate, in the view now under consideration. since the extension of the branches, of which The deposites, except in periods when all com he report complains, they have not sustained mercial confidence is lost, so far from being greater losses, in proportion, than the mother properly regarded as a debt for which the bank ; while nine-tenihs of the commercial fabank should make provision, as for its circula- cilities afforded to the country, and nine-tenths tion, are universally considered by all banks, as of the profits secured for the stockholders, have a fund upon the failh of which they may safely resulted from the operations of these branches. issue their paper to an equal amount. Whal. The report makes reference to the obliga. ever may be the amount of the deposites, at tion of the Bank to transfer the funds of the any given time, it is a fair calculation, founded Government, to any point where they may be on actual experience, that it will be equally as wanted for disbursement, and seems to have great at any furure time.
made The extraordinary discovery, that this If this were not the case, the government de operation is no burden at all, but an actual bene. posites, about which so much has been said, fit to the bank! For the satisfaction of those would be of no value to the bank; but, on the who might be sceptical, the words of the recontrary, a very great incumbrance.
port will be given : Upon the whole, then, the bank is not only “ The largest portion of the revenue, parfully able to meet all its engagements, but is in ticularly from imports, as is universally known, a state of the highest prosperity. And it is is collected in the Atlantic cities north of the but bare justice here to remark, that its gen. ral Potomac. These cities being the great marts operations have been conducied with singular of supply to nearly the whole of the United judgment and ability, in those very particulars States, and places to which remittances cen. which a part of the committee have selected as tre from alınost every part of the country, topics of disapprobation and censure.
creates a demand for funds upon them from The minority of the committee will barely nearly every quarter, constantly, and generally advert to some of ibe other topics introduced at a premium. Therefore, so far as he bank
is called upon to transfer funds from those It is alleged that the bank has given an un. çities to other places, it becomes a matter of due extension to its branches, and by some profit, and not of expense to it; and the greater process of reasoning, difficult to comprehend, the distance, the greater the premium ; and the it seems to be inferred, that the alleged excess larger the amount they required to be transferred of the circulating medium, is owing. in part, to by the Government, and the greater the distance, that cause. It is sufficient to remark, on this the greater the profit and advantage to the bank." point, that the greatest improvement which
li ihese views of the report be correct, the has been made in the administration of the bank is certainly an invaluable institution. It bank, and that which gives it its true federal has not only annihilated time and space, but it character, has been effected by the establish has done something more. It has produced ment of branches wherever the commerce of such a state of the exchanges, that it is much the country required them; and by the system easier for a man in New York to pay a thou. of exchange operations, which these branches sand dollars in St. Louis ihan to pay ii in Wall have enabled the bank io carry into effect. street; and in which, consequently, the New
The whole business of dealing in domestic York debtor actually makes a profit by being
to the amount of cannot understand how it is possible for the 123,052,972.
bank to make a profit by transferring funds, The opinion of Mr. Cheves, in 1819, is ad. when it is expressly stipulated that they shall verted to in the report, 10 prove ihe impolicy trarıster ihein for nothing. Nor can they well of increasing the number of branches ; ad conceive how the loss which the bank sustains the fact is stáled, that a large proportion of ibe by the operation of transferring funds for the
into the report.