صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

H. OF R.]

The Public Deposites.

[MARCH 6, 1834.

body to which it was submitted, did they believe the de- the last agonies that inevitably tended to that fate? Why posites should be removed? Did they think a suit should be instituted to revoke the remnant of the charter? So far from it, to my mortification, Congress, by a large majority, rechartered the bank; and, strange to tell, there were those at that day, the warmest friends of the bank, and who voted for a renewal of its charter, who are now convinced, upon weaker testimony, of precisely the same character, that its deposites ought to be removed!

The verdict of that Congress settled the fate of the report, and, though the facts remain, they are robbed of their force; for, at the last session, they had no influence upon the question then presented, as to the safety of the deposites. In the authority of two concurring decisions, whatever may be my opinion as to their correctness, the public voice, as expressed by their representatives, seems to have acquiesced, and to have pronounced that the labors of the investigating committee had brought to light no good reason for a change of the institution.

So far then, sir, from obtaining two verdicts against the bank, the bank obtained two verdicts against me--that is, if Congress, the immediate representatives of the people, is considered any part of this Government; but perhaps the gentleman may give in to the new doctrine, that the President is the Government, and, as such, had a right to alter the verdicts in the manner before related. If so, they are his verdicts, not mine.

run the risk of exciting public sympathy, by the exercise of cruel and unusual persecution towards an enemy that all must confess has done some good? There was every thing to lose, and nothing to gain. The bank was gone, and that was all its opposers wanted. Did it not occur to the President, and does it not occur to every one, what a dangerous experiment results from this measure? If it does not succeed as contemplated; if somewhere in the chain of reasoning an error has been committed; if in the long and complicated consequences expected to follow an action which pervades the most ramified interests of society, a false conclusion has been drawn, conducting the whole process to an entirely different result-a result fatally injurious to the fortunate destinies of the countrywho does not see that all will be laid to the necessity of a bank, and, as on a former occasion, public opinion, di rected by the best of all science, suffering experience, will again demand and have a bank?

Actions are not without their motives; we must look for the motive of every measure. Seeing, then, the course of the administration was wholly unnecessary as related to the future renewal of the charter, and that, indeed, it might produce an opposite effect, a question naturally presents itself, what could be the object? The subject had been laid before Congress, and refused; it had been laid before the cabinet, and rejected; the best I yet remain unconvinced of the justness of that deci- and wisest counsels of the country had advised against it; sion, so far as respects the constitutionality of the measure, the good sense of the whole community revolted at the though I candidly own my mind has undergone a very idea; why, then, should a favorite and highly honorable considerable change as to its expediency; and this has officer be expelled from his post to achieve this singular been mainly effected by the dear-bought experience project? It is something else than the mere prevention which has succeeded a rash and inconsiderate act, the of a charter. consequences whereof are now sweeping over the country like a desolating simoom.

Mr. Speaker: History is full of the melancholy truth, that rulers, and sometimes good ones, are controlled by I consider the removal of the deposites more unconsti- an artful, sinister influence, of which they themselves are tutional than the charter of the bank, because there is unconscious; and, thus operated upon, deeds have been less doubt about it, and infinitely more mischief. The done at which their own good judgment has been made to bank divides, perhaps, more than equally, the talents of shudder; and after suffering all the consequences of deceit the country; has had two great administrations in its fa- ful counsels, their characters have been delivered over to vor, backed by a decision of the Supreme Court; and the faithful page of history, there to receive their merited what is stronger than all, has the promise of the "great- obloquy. What a reflection to one whose high character est and best" to be renewed, though rejected upon con- and lofty fame now hang upon the issue of a most doubt. stitutional grounds, provided the country will let him ful experiment! The stake is great, and the game, as it dictate the terms. Not so with the removal of the de- draws to a close, is fearfully critical. If rumor speaks posites. One wide, deep, and settled tone of complaint the truth, just such an influence has produced the present attests the public disapprobation. The murmurs of the agony of the country. There are around the administra people rise and swell the tide of discontent which beats tion two malign influences, operating for the accomplish upon this House, if not in the fury of a storm, in the ment of a joint, but, ultimately, a single purpose--avarice steady progress of a torrent. The act was and is con- and ambition. The first seeks its gratification in the demned by the friends and foes of its author. His best attainment of stocks, lands, and low office; the latter, in advisers pronounced it wrong. The former and present the highest office of the Government; but this last is the Secretaries of State, of War, and, at one time, of the special instrument by which the former is to be continued: Navy, if reports be true, deprecated the measure; and, and, hence, to this end every power is concentrated. sir, his best friend and most decided enemy of the bank, Enough is seen to show that the bank stands in the way of the firm and honest Duane, said it was "unwise, unjust, a scheme to organize a moneyed regency throughout the unnecessary, arbitrary, and vindictive." Never did five country, the most irresistible agent, successfully tried words comprehend more truth, in relation to the effect of elsewhere to effect the purpose referred to; and, conse a measure. It was unwise, as relates to the interest of quently, it must be immediately destroyed; it will not do the country; it was unjust, as relates to the bank; it was to wait for its natural death--the golden harvest will have unnecessary, as relates to the moneyed operations of the passed; and though the Government may lose seven mil Government; it was arbitrary, with respect to the exer-lions of stock-though it may lose a part, or perhaps the cise of official power; and it was vindictive to those who whole, of its revenue-though it may lose all its facilities manage the concerns of the institution. for carrying on the fiscal operations of the TreasuryIt was, moreover, unnecessary, in reference to the pre- though the whole country may bleed at every pore-yet vention of a future renewal of the charter. The Presi- these are nothing, compared with the selfish objects of dent will remain in office, if he lives, till the 4th of March, heartless politicians. This, then, in my humble opinion, 1837; and if he dies, his place will be filled with a milder, accounts for a measure which Mr. Duane declared, and because a more cunning, hostility to the bank. He had truly too, was totally "unnecessary." vetoed the late charter, and, as he boasts, it was confirm- I come now, Mr. Speaker, to consider the subject with ed by the people. It could not possibly pass him and his reference to the power which has been exercised in the successor, in the residue of its existence. Why, then, removal of the deposites, and to show that, if I am op strike at a prostrated enemy, which, if not dead, was inposed to the recharter of the bank upon constitutional

MARCH 6, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

[H. OF R.

principles, I ought to be much more so, if consistent, to vate purposes they have no power to grant charters of the power exercised by the Executive. And I will can- incorporation, but they can do so when it is to carry into didly own that, if I were driven to the necessity of choos- effect well-known powers of the constitution. They have **ing between them, (which I trust will not be the case,) I named these powers, and within them they and their would prefer the former to the latter. Before I proceed, agents must revolve. We have now got the question permit me to ask, what is the bank? Is it any part of the into a very intelligible and well-defined boundary. Government? If it is, what? If it is not, what relation It could not be expected that the bank would execute does it bear to the Government? These are important these powers for nothing. If they were highly importquestions, in the view I shall take of the subject. ant to the Government, they were worth something; conThe principle upon which the bank is chartered, as sequently the Government said to the bank, You shall contended for by General Washington, Mr. Madison, the have the use of all our deposites, and we will receive Federal Court, and the two Congresses that have sanc- your bills in payment of all our revenue; thus investing tioned their opinions, is to be found in this strong and you with the Government's whole funds and credit. But expressive language: "That Congress has a distinct and this is more than equivalent for the services to be persubstantive power to create corporations, without refer- formed by you; you must pay a bonus of one million and ence to the objects intrusted to its jurisdiction, is a propo- a half of dollars for your charter and your exclusive sition which never has been maintained; but that any one privilege. Moreover, it is improper to risk the public of the powers expressly conferred upon Congress is sub- treasures with a private corporation, without having some ject to the limitation that it shall not be carried into effect control over it. Its safety demands that we should have by the agency of a corporation, is a proposition which is a weekly and monthly inspection of your affairs by the equally unmaintainable;" for that it has a right to all the Secretary of the Treasury, and also by a committee of means "necessary and proper" to execute its powers. Congress whensoever that body may think proper; and Then, we clearly infer that the bank is a part of the Gov-besides its safety, the proper execution of the powers of ernment, to carry into effect some of its "expressly con- the constitution which you have undertaken requires ferred powers." What are those powers? Its friends that the same officer may withhold the deposites, "in have always relied upon these:

1st. To assist the Government in "collecting taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, and paying them away; and to pay the debts of the United States."

2d. To borrow money on the credit of the United

States.

3d. To regulate commerce; and,

4th. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and thereby regulate the currency of the

country.

which case," however, to prevent injustice, "he shall immediately lay before Congress, if in session, and, if not, immediately after the commencement of the next session, the reasons of such order or direction." Now here is a plain, simple, fair contract, the condition of one part being the condition of every other part, and it has been violated by a misconception of the Secretary in two important particulars. First, he considers himself a party to the contract, when nothing can be more erroneous. He speaks of the Government's vesting in him certain These are all the express powers, upon a careful ex-powers, which divested it of any further control over amination of the constitution, the bank is intended to sub- them. A little attention to this idea will completely serve; there is not another that has the slightest relation manifest its perfect absurdity. Who are the contracting to it. Let it be constantly recollected that these are le- parties to this deed? Certainly there are but two-the gislative, not executive powers, and found in the very arti- stockholders and the Government. Who are to be bencle which defines the powers of Congress. The Govern-efited by it? Certainly no one but the stockholders and ment has, besides this, another distinct interest in the the Government. Between whom has the consideration bank; but this is evidently a private interest, and clearly passed? Certainly between them. Who are able to distinguishable from that just mentioned, which is a pub-contract? None but them. What is the subject-matter lic one. It holds stock in common with the other stock- of the contract? The execution of certain powers of the holders, and every one must perceive, if its public interest constitution by the bank, for certain privileges granted was withdrawn, if the bank was not its agent to carry in- to that institution. Now, will any one contend that the to effect certain powers of the constitution, it would have Secretary was able to contract, did contract, passed, or no more control over the bank than any other stockhold- received any consideration? Had he any powers to be er. This private interest is managed by its directors as executed by the bank? The thing is preposterous. It the interest of the stockholders is managed by their direc- may as well be contended that the other persons and tors-all constituting one representative body for the agencies mentioned in the charter were all parties to the whole, with no superior powers or privileges resting in contract, such as the cashiers and officers of the bank, any to the exclusion of the others. This private interest commissioner of loans, the President of the United must be kept entirely separate from the other; they have States, and the Federal Court; for they are all mentioned nothing to do with each other. The public interest is as having something to do in the execution of the connot at all intrusted to the directors appointed by the Gov-tract. Why should the Secretary alone believe he is a ernment individually, or as a class, but only so far as they party and beneficiary of the contract? Can any one beare connected with the other directors in the general lieve that Congress was so stupid as to make a contract management of the institution. This interest is confided by which a third person, not interested, should immedito the Secretary of the Treasury, to carry into effect the ately come into the control of the people's funds for powers of the constitution. Any other view involves the twenty years? Who does not perceive that the Secretary contradiction that two different agencies are created to could have withheld the deposites, upon any reasons he regulate the same interest, a disagreement between might chose to give, on the second day after the charter which would entirely defeat the object of the Govern- went into operation, and, throughout the remainder of its ment, which the bank has undertaken to discharge. existence, divided them among every merchant, nay, These powers are to aid, as before stated, in collecting every man in America? for if he can do it with State and disbursing the revenue, to borrow money, to regu- banks, by contract, he can with any body else; they late commerce, and to establish a uniform currency. being nothing but persons in law. His other mistake is This is the entire scope of his duties, because to go be- as to the character of the reasons he is bound to give for yond these is to go beyond even the powers of the Gov-withholding the deposites. His interpretation of the law ernment, and the very object they had in chartering the renders the exercise of the power perfectly unlimited; and, bank. They admit and declare that for exclusively pri- therefore, is a capricious one. Does any one believe this?

H. OF R.]

The Public Deposites.

[MARCH 6, 1834.

Does any one, for a moment, suppose that Congress and means to execute its powers. The "spirit" of the would invest an officer with unlimited discretion, with a law is, to have these special powers, which it could not power to be exercised capriciously, and yet require effect without aid, faithfully carried into execution. Here, reasons of him? Reasons for one's whims! Congress then, is a plain field, and much the widest that has been has, to be sure, done many strange things, but they have allowed the Secretary in this debate, within which his generally had their design in it; this, however, is without "reasons to Congress" should be circumscribed. If this design, and, what is worse, without sense. If, then, the was all that was contracted to be done by the bank, and power is not a capricious one, if it has a boundary, (and I all that was required by the Government, (and I have think all reasonable men will grant me this,) what is that shown it could require no more, even according to its boundary? What the limit? Will the House be gov- own construction of the constitution-for any thing more erned by rules of interpretation founded in the best of would have been out of that instrument,) the Secretary wisdom, free from the interest and passion of contending cannot, by any possible process of fair argument, mould parties, that have lasted through a long lapse of past, and his reasons to reach beyond the four "expressed powers" intended to endure through all future, time? Then what constituting the "subject-matter" of the contract. For are those rules? Listen to the sages of old; the concur- if this is always supposed to be in the eye of the legis rent opinion of all the ancient and modern authors on the lator," he is bound to keep it in his eye; his reasons, interpretation of law. therefore, must relate to some breach of duty on the part

"The fairest and most rational method to interpret the of the bank, in reference to the safety of the deposites, will of the legislator is by explaining his intentions at connected with their transmission and disbursement-with the time when the law was made, by signs the most nat-reference to some failure, or rather improper conduct, in ural and probable; and these signs are either the words, negotiating or preventing a loan—with reference to some the context, the subject-matter, the effects and consequences, culpable interference in, or disturbance of, the commerce or the spirit and reason of the law. or currency of the country, having for its object some "Words-In their usual signification, &c. unlawful or immoral speculation or advantage, contrary "Context-By what goes before and after. to the true spirit and intention of its agreement with the "Subject-matter-Words are always to be understood Government. All other objections must belong to the as having a regard thereto: for that is always supposed to private interest of the Government; it therefore falls withbe in the eye of the legislator, and all his expressions in the jurisdiction of the stockholders generally to ex amine and correct them, through the agency of their "Effects and consequences-The rule is, that when directors. Who does not perceive the reasonableness of words bear either none, or a very absurd signification, if such limits to the reasons of the Secretary? If he is per literally understood, we must deviate from the received sense of them.

directed to that end.

"Renson and spirit of the law-The most universal and effectual way of discovering the true meaning of law, when the words are dubious, is by considering the reason and spirit of it, or the cause that moved the Legislature to

enact it."

mitted to wander beyond this orbit, where is he to be restrained? He is launched into a shoreless ocean. One reason, then, will be as good as another; and it would be impossible for the bank so to shape its conduct as to avert the exercise of this boundless and arbitrary power. Operating within its known obligations and the spirit of its contract, it would stand some chance to parry the blow Now, let us apply some of these rules to the interpre- of even a captious Secretary, or a constantly fault-finding tation of the contract between the bank and the Govern- President. Not one of the Secretary's reasons is within ment. What was the "subject matter" of the contract, the bounds I have prescribed, and they are, therefore, so far as the Government was concerned? I have shown wholly groundless. that it was to assist in executing certain "expressed But, Mr. Speaker, I have been arguing this matter ac powers" of the constitution, connected with the fiscal cording to the view entertained by the parties themselves functions of the Government, which it professed to believe to the contract, as to their rights and powers. I do not could not be done without the agency of a bank, viz: to believe, myself, that Congress had any such authority to collect and disburse its revenue; to borrow money; to part with the powers of the Government to a private cor regulate commerce; and to establish a uniform currency. poration; for while they are in the corporation they are It could not possibly do any thing more. These were the out of the Government. And I cannot believe the powers subjects, and these alone, intrusted to its management. of the Government are transferable, or the proper ob What was the "reason and spirit" of the contract? The jects of contract. A grant (and such is a charter) extin public revenue was wanted in every part of the Union-guishes the right of the grantor, and implies a contract it was hazardous and expensive to transmit it to the places not to reassert that right until the end of the charter; yet where it was required. It was very desirable to have a it is not competent for the Secretary or the President place of safe deposite, and with a responsible agent, who to take advantage of that defect, unless, indeed, they would keep it so, and transfer it, free of expense, wher- have given in their adhesion to the doctrine of nullifica ever wanted. This was one reason for the law. The tion, and are trying an amusing experiment to see how it late war had shown how advantageous such an institution works upon the bank. If so, being a little better ac would have been in aiding the Government to negotiate quainted with that science, and I hope a thousand times loans; and this was another of the avowed reasons for the more honest in its use, I can tell them this is not a legal bank. The same war, and the period that succeeded it, subject for its operation. If, by possibility, the law affects showed how necessary it was to commerce and the Govern- the sovereign and reserved rights of a State, the State ment that the currency should be uniform; millions were may nullify; but the General Government, one of the lost to both by a miserable, valueless, and irresponsible cir- contracting parties, is estopped, by its own deed, from culation; to correct which, and drive it from the ravages setting up such a plea. Nullification is the proper rem it was perpetrating upon the property of the community, edy as between the General Government and the State the commerce and the trade of the country, but more Governments, because, for their respective objects, they particularly upon the revenue of the Government, the are entirely different and independent, having no common bank was established. These were the reasons of the arbiter; but, as between the General Government and its law; they are plain and obvious; none others can be given, own acts, the idea of nullification is a perfect absurdity. because any others would transcend the ability of the Its own constitution has provided the Judiciary Depart contracting parties to enter into the contract. For all ment, to determine the constitutionality of its own laws. other purposes, the Government had sufficient capacity It must recollect that rights have been vested in private

MARCH 6, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

[H. OF R.

individuals, and they have agreed that their courts shall to Congress for the faithful discharge of his trust. Now, be a common arbiter in all controversies in relation to how has Congress lost its right? If it possessed the conproperty and private rights, as between themselves and trol then, show the act that has divested them of it. its citizens. It has been said of me, that I ought to nulli- This is the showing: The President seizes the money, fy, inasmuch as I believe the law unconstitutional. I will, and, to justify its retention, reasons thus: The Secretary as a private citizen of Georgia, if my State believes her is the officer of the Executive Department, appointed by sovereign rights invaded, and she chooses to act; but I him, and therefore bound to do what he requires; and will not as a member of this Government, that has made a he requires him to withhold the public money from the fair bargain, and had eighteen years advantage of it. 1 bank, and place it, of course, wherever he directs; for am individually opposed to a standing army in a free Gov- the power that can make him remove it, can certainly ernment, and greatly wish that ours was abolished, espe- make him dispose of it in whatever manner he may think cially since I have seen the unconstitutional use made of proper.

it against the gentleman's [Mr. MARDIS's] own State; but Now mark the consequence; according to this reasonthis would not justify me in withholding the proper sup-ing, the Secretary's act is the President's act, and conplies for it, if the Government is determined to keep it sequently involves this absurdity; that, when Congress up, and has pledged its faith to the enlisted soldier. Mr. directed the Secretary to give reasons for his acts, it Jefferson himself, than whom no one was more op- meant nothing more nor less than that the President posed to the bank upon constitutional grounds, gave his should give reasons to Congress for his conduct; for if sanction to an act for establishing a branch of the United the Secretary has no will of his own, and is thrust from of States Bank, and stated that, as the charter had incorpo- fice if he disobeys the mandate of the President, it must rated the company, he considered the faith of the Gov- follow that he who takes the place of him required to ernment pledged, and therefore he would not disturb it give the reasons, must himself obey that call. Does during the period of its existence. any one believe this? Did Congress believe that it was

I have considered this case, with reference to the Secre- making such a draft upon an independent branch of Govtary of the Treasury, as if he had really acted upon his own ernment? What other law passed by Congress ever reresponsibility; but this is such a farce, such a mockery of quired the Executive to give reasons for its acts to that every thing like independent action, and so utterly void body? Does any one believe that they would be of even a decent respect for public discernment, that I obeyed, if directly required? Suppose, for instance, the choose to dismiss him, and go to the true author of all charter had said the deposites shall be made in the bank, this mischief. The President is the person who has "ta- unless the President shall otherwise order and direct; ken the responsibility," and by it presents this question, in which case" he shall immediately lay before Congress which the people alone shall determine: whether he or "the reasons of such order and direction." Would the Congress has the right to keep and control the public President have submitted to such a degradation of his treasure! This is the question. It is one of constitutional department? Or would Congress have been so weak as power between the Executive and Legislative Depart- to have exacted such a responsibility from the President, ments of Government. in the face of his veto power? Of what use would his

can be more

I need not go to the history of the Government, par- reasons have been with an almost absolute authority to ticularly as to the organization of the Treasury Depart- have them respected? No one believes this. Then how ment, contrasted with the formation of the Departments ridiculous in Congress to have required a duty, and the of State, of War, and of the Navy, than which nothing reasons for the discharge of that duty, from a person who convincing that it belongs to the entire con had no will of his own--completely the tool of another? trol of the Legislature. I need not consult the spirit and Can the good hard sense of the community stand this? genius of the constitution, which seems so studiously to But there is another view of this point still more ridicu guard the people's money by the people's immediate rep-lous, if that be possible. Congress, by putting the pubresentatives. Let all this pass. But it is enough for my lic money in the bank, for carrying into effect certain purpose to ask, where was the public money when the powers of the Government, confessedly belonging to bank was chartered? In whose possession was it? Was them, and directing an officer, which by law it could it in the possession of the President, and subject to his command, to see that it was used for that purpose, has care and control? If so, what right had Congress to make actually lost the control of that money, together with the a contract with the bank to take charge of it? to take execution of undoubted legislative powers. They have it away from the Executive? It cannot belong to both; passed into the hands of another department of Governone or the other must exclusively manage it. Could the ment, that claims them solely upon the ground that ConPresident have made such a bargain with the bank? No gress was silly enough to place them in the hands of one one will afirm this. How, then, can he do it with State of its subordinate officers, who has no right to think for banks? Recollect, I said these were legislative powers; himself; and therefore, under the appointing and removand, consequently, the Executive has nothing to do with ing power, that department now gives out that it will them. If they belong to Congress, there is no doctrine execute the powers of the constitution intended to be better established than that they are entitled to all the performed by the bank, by a new "experiment" of its means "necessary and proper" to carry them into execu- own, altogether upon a new plan. Was there ever such tion; but, if the Executive can control the instrument a political trick before? and, what is worse, it is now conwhich they have selected to effect these powers, who tended that it cannot be remedied but by two-thirds of does not perceive that the powers themselves are wrested Congress--a thing impossible, with the patronage of the from them? And this is the more palpable, since the Executive, and in the present high state of parties. Executive has undertaken to execute these very legisla- This measure is further attempted to be justified upon tive powers, through the agency of other banks. the ground that the Treasury Department is not only Well, then, upon the face of the charter there is part of the executive branch of the Government, but enough to convince any reasonable man (and any other that the power of appointment and removal of its Secreneeds no conviction) that the money at that time was in try necessarily involves the right to control him and his the possession of Congress, or else it usurped a power judgment in all things relating to his office. If this be belonging to the Executive. I assume, then, that the true as to him, it is equally so as to all other officers under money belonged to Congress at the time of the charter; like circumstances, whether in the army or navy, or inthat it was placed under the care of the Secretary of the deed in all the civil branches of Government. Treasury for a special purpose, holding him accountable what results from such a principle? In all the laws of

a

Now,

H. OF R.]

The Public Deposites.

[MARCH 6, 1834.

Congress, passed in every administration, in which a giv-money-he will effect loans-he will regulate com en specified duty is required of an officer, the Presi- merce-he will establish a uniform currency; Condent can prevent its performance if it does not happen gress need give itself no further uneasiness on these subto please him, by his removal, and obtaining a more com- jects. Mr. Speaker, there is one hope left to the counplying instrument, who, for the sake of office, will dis-try: the President, respecting no right between his want regard the required service. Take for example a case and his will, between his purpose and his power, has rushed from this same officer, the Secretary of the Treasury. into a business, which, though too small for his ambition, He is required by law to make his annual reports to Con- is fortunately too large for his strength. This (to him) gress. Now, under the doctrine that he is an executive melancholy truth is daily attested by the increasing ruin officer, and answerable to the power that appoints him, and distress that is ravaging the land like a blasting milthe President takes it into his head that the law is un- dew, and he will in the end war himself out of his own constitutional, and, by way of "experiment," requires conquest over the bank. him to make his reports to himself, instead of Congress. II. As relates to the bank. This measure has wrought Does any one believe, after what has happened, that a shameful breach of faith. It has impaired the obliga Secretaries might not be found ready and willing to do tion of its contract, than which nothing can be more unthis? And what makes this matter intolerable, the Pres- just. The stockholders are robbed of the only consider ident throws the Legislature into such a position that ation that has induced them to let the Government pry they cannot redress the mischief, unless they can obtain into their proceedings, to make their weekly and monthtwo-thirds of each branch of Congress to concur in the ly returns to it, by which the Secretary is possessed of counteracting measure, or two-thirds of the Senate, if all their secret operations, all their weak points, all their that measure should be impeachment. Will any one resources; and, profiting by this advantage, he can and point out a sensible difference between such a state of will give the State banks, to which the deposites are rethings and an absolute despotism? If this is not doing moved, such information and direction as may annoy, if what seemeth good unto a ruler, I know not what is. not cripple, their operations to the end of the charter. But if the appointing and removing power effects so To an honest mind, this reflection is intolerable. To remuch for the Executive, it must equally do the same for tain a right to the secrets of the bank, after withdrawing the Legislative and Judiciary Departments. Let us take what was the actual consideration for this right, is an an example from the latter, by way of illustrating this instance of bad faith that must shock every man's sense of point. It will be admitted that the Congress which passed honesty.

the bank charter had the power to have selected any III. As relates to the Government. This breach of other officer than the Secretary of the Treasury (and faith will have a most disastrous effect abroad upon the this proves the public funds were at their exclusive dis- character of the Government. It has been the peculiar position) to perform what is therein required. Suppose, object of the American institutions, founded, as they then, that they had chosen the reporter of the Supreme are, upon the representative principle, to establish a reCourt to have done what was intrusted to the Secretary, putation for unblemished faith. Sir, if good faith be but (being a high legal character, and seeing that the duty a bugbear, if it be nothing but a name, then it is a thing to be performed was principally the construction of a of pastime, and unworthy of regard; but, if it be the charter, intended to affect constitutional powers, it would life and soul of all the confidence between man and man, not have been a very inappropriate choice,) does any one if it be the very spirit of honor in a nation's character, believe that, because the Supreme Court has the appoint- then it may not be trifled with. The violation of this ment and removal of this officer, they would dare to con-invaluable principle towards the bank will weaken the trol him in the exercise of his honest judgment in relation confidence of our own people in the justness of their to his trust? Would they seek to rob the Congress of the Government; but to those abroad, who have their im management of the public funds and their legislative mense capital flowing through all the diversified chan powers, because they had required a certain service to nels of enterprise presented by this growing country be done by an officer appointed and removable by them? stimulating its industry, invigorating its confidence, and And if they did, who does not see at once what an over-increasing its wealth, it will be a severe shock. A sudwhelming indignation would burst from every quarter den check will be given to the circulation of this capital, of this Union? and perhaps, by its withdrawal altogether, involve some This illustration, then, clearly proves that, if Congress of the most hopeful prospects in one general ruin. In could select an officer, acknowledged by all to belong exclusively to the Judiciary Department, to perform an act for them which that department could not control, why might they not do precisely the same thing in relation to an executive officer, even supposing he was the exclusive agent of that department? But if he be a legislative officer, (at least so far as the finances are concerned,) or an instrument to carry into effect certain legislative powers--and this, the subject-matter of the charter, the character of his trust, the history of his creation, the genius of the Government, and the spirit of the constitution, all seem to confirm--who can doubt that the attempt to control such officer, merely by virtue of the appointing power, is not only a gross abuse of that power, but a wanton usurpation of the rights of Congress?

Europe, all the ramified operations in trade and com merce, depending upon the credit of American stocks, will be instantly impaired, and this will as certainly react upon the United States as that water will flow from an oppos ing barrier, adding a deeper gloom to an embarrassment which has almost reached its last point of endurance.

a

IV. As relates to the country. Never was there such wide miscalculation as that which has resulted from the removal of the deposites. Its expected benefits are turned into the most unspeakable mischiefs, and these have reached down to and parted the very roots of society. Perhaps it is the only measure of the administration, that, in its effects, may claim the merit of perfect equality. Equal suffering is alike the lot of all; it exacts its tribute of distress as well from the daily bread of the laborer, as What are some of the consequences of this act? from the cargo of the merchant that rides upon the seas I. As relates to Congress. It has lost a clear constitution. This ought to have been expected; and if' reliance al right to control and manage the public funds, and no- could have been placed upon the report of the commit thing remains to them now but to pass simple tax and ap- tee who investigated the bank two years ago, (and many propriation laws, without any control of said funds for bottom all their opposition upon this report,) it would any of the constitutional purposes to which they were there have been found that a similar distress, existing at previously applied. The President henceforth will cause that time, was accounted for upon precisely the same to be collected, transmitted, and disbursed, the public causes which have produced the present calamities.

any

« السابقةمتابعة »