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that they had never been apprised that Mr. Burrows had obtained this loan from the bank, until a very short time previous to the visit of th’s committee to Philadelphia. They had, until that time, been under the impression that the money was obtained from the father of Mr. Silas E. Burrows, in Connecticut. The following extract from the testimony of Mr Biddle will exhibit a clear view of this transac. tion ; “These notes were discounted by the exchange committee under the resolutions just reserted to. They were done at he request of Mr. Silas E. Burrows, of New York. Mr. Burrows had, sometime before, brought me a particular letter of introduction from an oldsriend, Mr. Monroe, the Ex President. Mr. Burrows had been very liberal to Mr Monroe in his pecuniary mi-fortunes, and he had recently received from the President of the U. States particular thanks and commendations for his generous conduct towards a Russian ship of war. I understood him to be a very rich merchant of kind and benevolent disposition, and constantly engaged in doing acts of liberality. In one of Wis visits to Philadelphia, he sid, he was desirous of befriending Mr. Noah, and assisting him in the purchase of a share in a newspaper, and he asked if the bank would discount the notes of these parties, adding that, although, as a merchant, he did not wish to apPear as a borrower, or put his name on a paper not mercantile, yet he would at any time do * whenever it might be necessary to secure the bank,” “The committee being authorised to discount any paper, the security of which they might approve, agreed to do them. As Mr. Burrows was going out of town I gave him the money out of my own funds, and the notes were afterwards put in my possession. They remained with me for a long time, as I had no %casion to use the funds, nor was it till the close of the year that my attention was called to *m by the circumstarce that, as a new board of directors, and a new committee of exchange would soon be appointed, the same committee which made the loan should consummate it. !had seen, also, in the public prints, many rePoches against the bank for lend.ng money * Printers and editors, and I was unwilling that any loan made by the bank should seem to **Private loan from one of its offiers. Hav* no use for the money, it would have been *ctly convenient to "let the loan remain as ***, but I thought it right that every thing one by the bank hould always be distinctly hown and avowed, and I therefore gave the * to the chairman of the comm tee, Air. P. Cope, who entered them on the wks. On the 3d day of March, Mr. Bur*** called at the bank and paid the notes. I "oh! to add that the loan was made at the re*st of Mr. Burrows, and that 'neither 1 nor *" of the committee had ever seen Mr. Noah *Mr. Webb, or had any communication with *m direct or indirect about the loan. It
*made on the credit of Mr. Burrows, wbol– . I col. R. M. Johnson.
allerwards paid it.”
It appears that Messrs. Webb and Noah avowed themselves in favor of a renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States on the 8th of April, 1831. It is difficult, therefore, to conceive what possible influence could have been produced upon their course by a loan to Mr. Burrows, of which they had no knowledge. It is equally difficult to perceive how the loans of August and December, 1831, could have had any possible agency in producing the change which it is alleged took place in the course of these editors upwards of four months before.
Under all the circumstances of this case, the minority of the committee declare, without any reserve, that there is nothing in these transactions calculated to induce them to doubt the honor and integrity of the directors, and this, they feel authorised to say, is the opinion of a majority of the committee, from the opinion already publicly expressed of one of its members.” They also deem it to be due to the occasion, and to their own sense of justice, that they should ad!, that, they do not believe there exists in the United States a bank direction composed of more upright, independent, and honest men, than that which gianted the loans in question. Most, if not all of them, are men of independent fortunes, having no connection with politics, and being entirely independent of banks. They are generally men who are engaged in a safe and successful business, with fortunes, which they have made, not by adventurous speculations, but by steady industry and moderate but certain profits. This is, indeed, the general character of the merchants and capitalists of Philadelphia, a circumstance which renders the location of the bank in that city peculiarly fortunate for the sockholders and for the country. The next subject brought to the view of the House by the report of the majority, which it is now deemed necessary to notice, is that of the transactions of the bank with Thomas Biddle & Co. Mr. Thomas Biddle, the principal member of the firm, is a distant relation of the president of the bank, and it was owing to this circumstance, probably, that his accounts under. went a most prying, not to say inquisitorial, examination. The first thing that struck the attention of a part of the committee,as worthy of scrutiny, was the fact, that this House had obtained from the bank, in August, 1831, loans to the amount of upwards of a million of dollars, on a pledge of stocks,—a sum which had been gradually re. duced, however, to about six hundred thousand dollars. o on examination, it was found that this loan had been made at the special instance and ur. gent solicitation of the directors of the bank; and that the bank, and not 'Thomas Biddle & Co., was the party accommodated. The Government having then recently paid off several millions of its stock, which the bank had own
ed, the consequence was, that a large portion of the money capital of the institution was ren dered unproductive, and it became a matter of
was not one word of truth in it from the begin.
ning to the end. He added, that from the re
at importance to have it invested. state of things, the directors adopted a resolu tion, authorising the loan of a large sum at less than the legal interest, upon the security of any lt is to be here remarked, that this was that portion of the copital of the bank which had never been invested, and which it was not deemed expedient to invest, in the active business of discounts. mas Biddle & Co., on the pledge of stocks, was analogous to a loan to the Government. stocks could, on any emergency, be sqld and converted into cash ; so that this investment had, in some sort, the twofold attribute of money in the vaults of the bank, to meet any pressing demands against it, and money, at the same time, drawing interest. All the directors, who were examined on the
The loan to 'Tho
lation in which the witness stood to him, he
in the interval between the adjournment of
subject, stated that they considered this trans-
Ön examining the journals of the board and the letter book, it was found by entries and letters, that for several days previ. ous to the alleged interview between the presi. dent and Whitney, and for several days afterwards, the president was absent on a visit to this city, on the business of the bank, and General Cadwallader was acting as president in his
Thus was this artfully devised story, which was intended to blast the reputation of a high: minded and honorable man, through one of those extraordinary interpositions, by which Providence sometimes confounds the contrivan: ces of the wicked, made to recoil upon the head of its inventor, who must for ever stand forth as a blasted monument of the speedy and 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, on a deposite of stock in the teller's drawer,
had the must conclusive evidence, that in all 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 imputafor Thomas Biddle & Co., and one for Charles|tion of partiality or favoritism, but that his con
Biddle, without the authority of the directors.
duct has been invariably governed by a mice
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 the examination.
following resolutien was unanimously adopted
He also stated, to give ad. by the committee;
ditional certainty to his averments,that he made | Resolved, That the charge brought against a memorandum at the time, with the dates of i. president, of lending money to Thomas
the transactions, which memoraudum he produced to the committee.
iddle & Co. without interest, and of discount.
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 8f Mr. Biddle, any ground for charging the president with the president, and remonstrated with him
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. - Mr. Biddle was present during the examina-|withdrawal of specie from the southern and west. '
The report of the majority, adverting to the
tion of this witness. On that day, being on |ern branches, and the substitution of paper in oath, he said, that he was utterly astonished at its stead, suggests a doubt whether this operathe testimony of the witness, and could only|tion may not be highly injurious to the southoppose to it his solemn declaration, that therel era and western states, "so far from concur.
having shown, or manifested any disposition to .
ring in this doubt, the minority are of the opi-
cumulations and credits in Europe, the means of remittances in its own bills, to the amount of $5,295,746, and parted with its surplus specie to the amount of five millions, making an aggregate contribution to our commerce of $10,295,746.”
The extent to which these operations of the bank must have relieved the country, are too obvious to require comment. Without this temporary relief—and it was only temporary relief that the community required— the greatest commercial distress would have probably ensued. The criris is now nearly passed. The pressure on the money market has, in a great measure, ceased; commerce has had time to correct its own excesses; importations have been diminished, the unfavorable state of the foreign exchanges no longer exists; specie has ceased to flow from the country, and has begun to flow into it. Since March last the specie in the bank has increased more than a million of dollars, and every thing is rapidly assuming a sound and healthy condition.
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.lconsiderable 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 alin 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 the planter; and at the north, statements here with exhibited, that the domes. where foreign merchandise is imported, it is as stic discounts of the bank had not increased $onstantly 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 form level during the whole of the intervening steady, and those injurious fluctuations are period. The excessive importations, however, Prevented which would otherwise operate as commenced in March and April, 1831, and heavy 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, ers in exchange. that these excessive importations were not proThe majority of the committee have selected|duced by the excessive issues of the bank, and for commentary, aparticular 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 and 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 afficient to remark here that it has almost en-lextend its discounts, with a view to relieve the tirely arrested the direct exportation of species community from the temporary pressure to m 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 will be seen from this document that du.
It so happened, that at the very time the country stood most in need of bank accommodations, the bank had increased means and inducements to extend those accommodations.The government having paid off, within the last eighteen months, ten millions of its stock, which was held by the bank, the directors found that if they did not increase their dis. counts considerably, some millions of their capital must be idle and unproductive. It thus happened that the wants of the community, the means of the bank, and, it may be added, the obligation of the directors to the stock. holders and to the community, all co operated to call for that extension of bank accommoda
**ince September fast, “from its own ac
tions, which, so far from having produced overtrading and excessive importations, has been \ment of the relative resources and responsibility 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 “at no these irregularties of trade would otherwise) period in 1819, when the bank was very near have unavoidably produced. suspending payment, was u 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, that 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 aton. nicious. siderable, but temporary pressure upon the If it had been the design of the majority to money market, during which the bank, with as produce a scene of general embarrassment and much liberality as judgment, has put forth all distress in the commercial community, in the its 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 ob- the 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 com: Fortunately, however, for the country, the plaired that the bank went too far in its accommercial community of the United States|commodations when they were necessary, com: have too 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 stated, with a view to show its perfect abli. mittee have thought it expedient to indulge. Ty to meet all its engagements. The specie in If a general alarm has not ensued, producing a sits vaults 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 exchang; munity understand the subject better than a held by the bank on the 1st of May, amounted portion of the committee, and have placed a to $23,052,972, ten millions of which will bo proper estimate on their statements and specu-paid in the course of a month, and none of lations. which have a longer period to run than mino's 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 conbeen 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 so o specie in its vaults. was engaged in the painful but necessary of These domestic bills of exchange are founde fice of correcting a redundant and depreciated upon the actual operations of our internal trade, currency, produced by political causes, andland are in fact drawn in anticipation of the having scarcely any connection with the state of soutbern and southw stern crops, which rego trade. larly arrive in the northern and eastern cities in At this moment, whatever may be said to the time 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 has good notes discounted on payment, an exchange is an infallible barometer to indicate |other security, amounting to $47,375,078, and the soundness or unsoundness of our currency. ||real estate and foreign bills, amounting to A reference to the state of the exchange be-li\},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 half of which could, on any couraged overtrading by excessive issues, and as 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 having only “an aggregate of $9,640,000 to meet an aggregate responsibility of $42,643,000,” which the author of the report might well set down with two notes of admiration, the bank has undoubted re. sources amounting to $82,057,438, to meet a responsibility of $43,685,603. In the actual state of the country it is visiona. ry in the extreme to imagine the bank is in the slightest danger of being reduced to the neces. sity of “suspending payment.” The whole amount of its circulation is now only $22,000,000, and this is the only portion of its responsi bility which can be properly taken into the es timate, in the view now under consideration. The deposites, except in periods when all commercial confidence is lost, so far from being properly regarded as a debt for which the bank should make provision, as for its circulation, are universally considered by all banks, as afund upon the faith of which they may safely issue their paper to an equal amount. Whatever may be the amouilt of the deposites, at any given time, it is a fair calculation, founded on actual experience, that it will be equally as great at any future time. , If this were not the case, the government de posites, about which so much has been said, would be of no value to the bank; but, on the contrary, a very great incumbrance. Upon the whole, then, the bank is not only fully able to meet all its engagements, but is in a state of the highest prosperity. And it is but bare justice here to remark, that its gen, ral Operations have been conducted with singular judgment and ability, in those very particulars which a part of the committee have selected as topics of disapprobation and censure. The minority of the committee will barely adver, to some of the other topics introduced into the report. It is alleged that the bank has given an undue trension to its branches, and by some process of reasoning, difficult to comprehend, it seems to be inferred, that the alleged excess of the circulating medium, is owing in part, to that cause. It is sufficient to remark, on this I." that the greatest improvement which been made in the administration of the bank, and that which gives it its true federal character, has been effected by the establish ment of branches wherever the commerce of the country required them ; and by the system $fexchange operations, which these branches have enabled the bank to carry into effect. The whole business of dealing in domestic bills of exchange, so essential to the internal *mmerce of the country, has been almost entitly brought about within the last eight years. olune, 1819, the bank did not own a single *r of domestic bills; and in December, 184s owned only to the amonnt of $2,378,980; whereas it now owns to the amount of $23,052,972, The opinion of Mt. Cheves, in 1819, is ad. voted to in the report, to prove the impolicy * increasing the 'number of branches ; a d *fadio stated, that a large proportion of the
losses sus’ained by the bank have been owing to the mismanagement of the branches. The opinion of Mr. Cheves was founded on the peculiar state of things which existed at the time. He felt the difficulty of controlling these branches, of which, as he stated, the “directors were frequently governed by individual and local interests and feelings 3" and he came into the administration at a time when immense losses had been suffered by their mal-administration. But it is very important to remark– what the report does not bring to view—that almost all the disproportionate losses incurred by the branches were previous to 1819; and that, since the extension of the branches, of which the report complains, they have not sustained greater losses, in proportion, than the mother bank ; while nine-tenths of the commercial facilities afforded to the country, and nine-tenths of the profits secured for the stockholders, have resulted from the operations of these branches. The report makes reference to the obligation of the Bank to transfer the funds of the Government, to any point where they may be wanted for disbursement, and seems to have made the extraordinary discovery, that this operation is no burden at all, but an actual benefit to the bank | For the satisfaction of those who might be sceptical, the words of the report will be given : “The largest portion of the revenue, particularly from imports, as is universally known, is collected in the Atlantic cities north of the Potomac. These cities being the great marts of supply to nearly the whole of the United States, and places to which remittances cen. tre from almost every part of the country, creates a demand for funds upon them from nearly every quarter, constantly, and generall at a premium. Therefore, so far as he . is called upon to transfer funds from those £ities to other places, it becomes a matter of profit, and not of expense to it; and the greater the distance, the greater the premium, and the larger the amount they required to be transferred by the Government, and §. greater the distance, % greater the profit and advantage to the bank.” If these views of the report be correct, the bank is certainly an invaluable institution. It has not only annihilated time and space, but it has done something more. It has produced such a state of the exchanges, that it is much easier for a man in New York to pay a thousand dollars in St. Louis than to pay it in Wall street; and in which, consequently, the New York debtor actually makes a profit by being required to pay his debt a thousand miles off instead of paying it a this own door! If this be, a correct view of the subject, it is undoubted. ly one of the greatest of the modern discoveries in finance and commerce But the minority are sill incredulous. They cannot understand how it is possible for the bank to make a profit, by transferring funds when it is expressly stipulated that they snail transfer them for nothing. Nor can they well conceive how the loss which the bank sustains by the operation of transferring funds for the