صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

MARCH 25, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

[H. of R.

debts, construct basins, and erect buildings, which would that the witness had arrived in that place on Thursday' increase the original value twenty, fifty, or a hundred the 5th instant, (April, while the committee was engaged fold, which would not "be requisite for its immediate in the examination,) but he was not able to serve the accommodation." process, because he could not be found." Now, sir, I Under the head of "mismanagement of the bank," as have only time to add to this part of the report of the the committee thought proper, very modestly, to call it, committee, that this same "Courier and Enquirer," and there are some facts disclosed which are too important to another paper since established by Mr. Noah, called the be omitted. The first I shall notice, are those of certain "Evening Star," are two amongst many of the pure loans to the editors of the Courier and Enquirer, a news-vehicles of information, through which the people are paper then and still published in the city of New York, daily enlightened about the utility and purity of the which was extensively circulated, and was, no doubt, bank, and the usurpation, tyranny, and despotism of supposed to have much influence on public sentiment. General Jackson. It appears that, in March, 1831, application was made to Sir, it would consume too much time to notice all the Mr. Biddle in favor of Messrs. Noah and Webb, by one developments of this committee of examination. I will Silas E. Burrows, for a loan of fifteen thousand dollars. limit my remarks to two other points. It seems the comWith the approbation of a committee, the president of mittee called for the accounts of the bank, under the the bank granted the loan, payable in five annual instal- head of expenditures for printing, but had not received ments, and retained the notes till the close of the year, them when they made their report. They give, howwhen, for the first time, they were entered on the books. ever, a sort of abstract from a statement furnished to the In August following, Messrs. Webb and Noah again Senate in March, 1832, showing that "from the period borrowed twenty thousand dollars, on their own note, of the establishment of the bank, after the year 1817, up without any other security, payable in six months; and it to the year 1829, the sum paid for printing, in any one was the largest loan on that day. In December follow-year, had not exceeded eight hundred and sixtying, the same individuals again borrowed, from the seven dollars and nineteen cents; and, in some years, had exchange committee, fifteen thousand dollars, "without been reduced as low as one hundred and twenty-four any additional security or recommendation." The re-dollars, and one hundred and sixty-five dollars and fifty port also discloses that, "at this time there was a con- cents. But in 1830, (the committee say,) the amount is siderable pressure in the money market, and many notes swelled to the sum of six thousand seven hundred and of the citizens of Philadelphia were rejected. It was one sixty-two dollars and fifty-four cents; and in 1831, to among the largest loans on that day. These loans, nine thousand one hundred and eighty-seven thousand together with the one made to Burrows, amounted to the dollars and ninety-four cents." Now, sir, here was a sum of fifty-two thousand nine hundred and seventy-five most palpable fraud; a suppressio veri, practised on the dollars, which consisted of notes drawn and endorsed by Senate, and on the committee. Instead of about sixteen the editors only." thousand dollars, expended for printing and stationary in Here it will be proper to notice some incidental facts, 1830, and '31, as their statement to the Senate indicated set forth in the report. It seems that for a period of (it seems they furnished no statement to the committee) Bear sixteen months before the first loan to these editors, those expenditures, for the same period, and including through Burrows, the Courier and Enquirer "was the last half of 1829, had then actually amounted to warmly opposed" to the bank, that on or about the 8th upwards of sixty thousand dollars, as appears by the April, 1831, (a few days after the first loan,) this paper memorial of the much-abused, but upright and intelligent changed its course in favor of the bank; and, I may add, Government directors. And it now appears that those it has ever since supported the bank. Again, the expenditures, up to the close of 1832, during the three resolution for the examination of the affairs of the bank, and a half years preceding, amounted to ninety-nine which led to this report, was introduced into the House thousand seven hundred and twenty-nine dollars and on the 17th of February, 1832: the discussion was con- eight cents-say in round numbers, one hundred thoutinued, and on the 2d of March following, the same Mr. sand dollars! Of this sum, one-fifth-that is, twenty thouBurrows "obtained from the exchange committee, dis-sand dollars-was the money of the people, expended to counts to the amount of thirty-two thousand four hundred abuse the Chief Magistrate of their choice, to delude and and forty-six dollars, being the largest sum loaned on deceive them, and to corrupt and poison the channels Laat day, and while many of the notes of the citizens of through which they look for information. Why, sir, Philadelphia were rejected." On the same day, Mr. there is much noise made by the opposition about the Barrows paid off the notes of Webb and Noah, first dis- influence of Government patronage in the employment of counted, amounting to seventeen thousand nine hundred a few papers throughout the Union, even to publish the and seventy-five dollars, payable in 1832, 33, 34, laws, at fixed rates. If it be corrupting for the Govern-35, and -36. On the 14th of March, Burrows obtained ment, pursuant to law, to pay a limited number of another discount from the bank of fourteen thousand one printers in the different States a few hundred dollars hundred and fifty dollars; and on the 15th of the same each, for publishing this most indispensable of all intelliBonth, the note of Webb and Noah for fifteen thousand gence, what must be the effect of the thousands and tens dollars, loaned them in December previously, and not of thousands paid by the bank without law, for publishde till June subsequently, was paid off by two drafts, ing volumes of tirades to prove that this institution is btained by Webb at the United States Branch Bank at worthy of all confidence, and that the man who has New York. It will be recollected that the resolution for devoted a long life to his country's service, is totally e appointment of this examining committee was unworthy? Can the people safely rely for information on dopted by the House of Representatives on the 14th of a press which is thus subsidized? March, 1831, and that it was well understood, sometime But to return to the report of the committee of investireviously, that the resolution would be adopted. It gation. They seem to have been at a loss to discover to sens the committee were anxious to obtain the testimony what circumstances the extraordinary increase of exf Burrows, and for that purpose a subpoena was sent to penditure for printing and stationary, of which they had New York, where Burrows resides, and to Washington information, was ascribable; but we now understand, as ity, but he was not to be found in either of those far as the board of directors will suffer us to know. We laces. Understanding that Burrows was expected at know that, in the President's first message, in December, Philadelphia, the chairman directed the marshal to 1829, he gave strong intimations against the recharter of earch for him, but he reported "that he had ascertained the bank; we know he repeated them in 1830; and in

VOL. X.-198

H. or R.]

The Public Deposites.

[MARCH 25, 183

"Resolved, That the board have confidence in the w dom and integrity of the president (of the bank,) and the propriety of the resolutions of 30th November, 183 and 11th March, 1831, and entertain a full conviction of necessity of a renewed attention to the object of the resolutions, and that the president be authorized and quested to continue his exertions for the promotion of th object."

1831; and we know that the Presidential election was to expenditures for printing should be exhibited, and th take place in 1832. We now know, even from the partial the resolutions authorizing them should be rescinded, t glimmering we have on the subject, that the articles, board not only promptly rejected it, but proposed a printed and paid for by the bank, consisted of political adopted the following as a substitute: speeches, reviews, newspaper essays, and editorial articles abusive of the President, and depreciating his claims to public confidence, on the one hand; and laud ing the bank and its friends, and extolling its great public utility, on the other. In a word, sir, those expenditures were intended to defeat the re-election of our present Chief Magistrate, who was unfriendly to the bank, and opposed to its recharter, and to elect his competitor in his stead, who was exactly the contrary. From this resolution, in connexion with that of the 11 The only additional disclosure of the committee, with March, 1831, it is manifest that the board of directors a which I shall detain the House, relates to the mode of elect- only surrender the entire funds of the bank to the ing the directors of the bank. From this, it appears that restrained control and discretion of the president, b the whole number of proxies is 4,533. Of these, "the they stimulate and encourage him to continue these president (Mr. Biddle) holds, exclusively, 1,436, and, as penditures; and have so much confidence in his "wisdo a trustee in conjunction with others, 1,684-making, to- and integrity," that they will not require him to red gether, 3,120 proxies." The committee very properly an account of the manner in which he has made the add, that this gives the president of the bankdecidedly Can it be said that the public money is safe in an inste a preponderating control in the election of directors-ation which is in the hands of one man, who is thus rend power which was never contemplated by the charter." ed irresponsible? Is there any officer of this Governme A single reflection on this part of the report, and I will from the Chief Magistrate down to the lowest disbursa proceed to other points of consideration. Here we find that agent, who would be permitted to expend the pub one man has "a preponderating control in the election of money, in his discretion, and afterwards be excused fr directors" of an institution with a capital of $35,000,000! rendering an account of the manner in which he had de It is but too apparent that he elects a board, who, if not so? No, sir; not one. Yet, notwithstanding all that implicitly obedient to his will, at least have such implicit been said by the friends of the bank, about concentrat confidence in "his wisdom and integrity," as to give him power in the hands of one man, and of the public treast every power that he may desire. He appoints all the being in the hands of the President of the United States committees, and is, ex officio, a member of each. The have not heard from one of them a word of complaint, t committee of exchange, consisting of three members, be- the funds of the bank, and the power to control and expe sides himself, grants discounts and accommodations at dis-them at discretion, were in the hands of Mr. Biddle. 4 cretion; witness the accommodation of $15,000, payable cording to the views of these gentlemen, the public mon in five annual instalments to Burrows, for Webb and is in great danger, from the power of the President of Noah. And this practice of granting discounts and ac United States, merely because the depositories are cha commodations, through the agency of a mere committee, ed, though the laws making specific appropriations, and is in open violation of the charter of the bank, which exposing the most rigid accountability, still exist in full for pressly declares that "not less than seven directors shall but, it would seem, from their silence, there is no dang constitute a board for the transaction of business," &c. in its being placed at the sole, unrestricted, and irrespe But this is not all. To this single man-the president sible disposal of the president of the bank. of the bank, elected by a board of directors, in whose Now, sir, is it not astounding that the gentleman fr election he has "a preponderating control"-is commit- Georgia, [Mr. CLAYTON,] who moved the investigat ted the entire capital of the bank, including that portion into the affairs of this institution in 1832, and ma owned by the Government. Under certain resolutions of the report upon which I have remarked, setting forth the board of directors, the president has expended the distinct violations of the charter-then proved, besid enormous amount already stated for printing. The last the mismanagement and abuses in regard to loans to new of those resolutions, adopted on the 11th March, 1831, paper editors; the increase of expenses for printing authorized him to cause to be prepared and circulated stationary; the "preponderating control" of the presid such documents and papers as may communicate to the in the election of directors, with the accumulated evide people information in regard to the nature and operations of charter violations and abuses now before him, sho of the bank." Here is no limitation whatever upon his not only cease to oppose but even defend and eulog ze discretion, as to the quantity, quality, or description of bank? The gentleman now avails himself of this first "documents and papers" to be prepared and circulated; opportunity (as he calls it) to make satisfaction for wro and none as to the amount to be expended. "So far as which he thinks he has done the bank; speaks with reg regarded the money expended by the president," the of "insinuations," which were unworthy of him, and Government directors say they could discover no en- cause they were designed to support; and seeks forgiven tries or vouchers in regard to it, except that it was ex- with the most penitential humility. Sir, would the g pended on his orders, under the resolutions referred to." tleman now have us believe that all the facts submitted Referring to those resolutions, those directors submitted the House, not only by himself, but with the sanction a resolution, for the adoption of the board, requiring the the majority of the committee, and most of them pru cashier to furnish, "at as early a day as possible, a full by the confession of the officers of the bank, or other and particular statement of all these expenditures, desig-questionable testimony, were mere insinuations? 1 nating the sums of money paid to each person, the quan- gentleman says that, in his country, when an honest s tity and names of the documents printed by him, and his citor finds a prosecution which he has instituted unj chargesfor the distribution and postage of the same," &c; and supported by subornation, he enters a nolle prose also," that he ascertain whether expenditures of the But, sir, what would a court say to a solicitor who same character have been made at any of the offices," preferred his bill of indictment and adduced conclus &c.; and "that the said resolutions be rescinded, and evidence of the culprit's guilt, and then proposed to en no further expenditures made under the same." So far a nolle prosequi? In such a case, I do not think an from adopting this resolution of the Government directors, right judge would be very apt to suffer public justice making the reasonable request that the accounts of those be defeated by the discharge of the prisoner.

MARCH 25, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

[H. or R

Sir, there is another point of view, in which the con- ties, business, or feelings of the customers of the branches, duct of the bank has been most reprehensible, and has and without any of that sympathy w ich always exists shown that it is unworthy of the public confidence. I al- among individuals of the same community, issues a perJude to its fluctuating policy, in regard to loans and cur- emptory order to the directors of a branch, a thousand or tailments; sometimes expanding its business and extending more miles distant, to call in the debts which may be due accommodations most inordinately, and suddenly calling to it, at a rate that must inevitably produce great commerin its debts, without regard to the interest of its custom-cial embarrassment to all, and perhaps irretrievable ruin ers, and at periods the most unpropitious to the commu- to many. Sir, such an institution cannot be safe even to nity. From an official statement, I find its curtailments at the interest of the people at large, much less to those who the Western and Southwestern branches alone, between rely upon it for facilities. What can be more injurious to the 2d of August last and the 3d of the present month, the interest of the agriculturist, the planter, or the farmer, on bills discounted on personal security, amount to than, at the very season of the year that he is carrying $3.415,357 96. Of this sum, nearly one million of dol- the products of his year's labor to market, to call in, from lars has been the amount of the reduction at the branch those who would be the purchasers, loans of millions of In the city of New Orleans alone—the great mart of nearly dollars? Must it not necessarily produce almost ruinous all the trade of the valley of the Mississippi. The reduc- depressions of prices! It follows, clearly to my mind, ton has taken place, too, at that period of the year which that the pecuniary prosperity of every community would is, of all others, the most unfavorable to the interests of be much more safe in the power of local banks, or State that portion of the Union-at the time of the transporta-institutions, whose boards of directors are independent of tion and sale of the productions of the past year. It ap- all foreign influence, who are members of the same sociepears, also, that these curtailments have fallen far short ty, participating in the same feelings and interests, and who of what was intended by the directors of the mother bank, are operated upon by a common sympathy in all respects. at Philadelphia, if we may credit the information that has reached us through the public journals, and which remains uncontradicted, so far as I have seen or heard. I take an article from the St. Louis (Missouri) Republican of Febru ary 10-3 paper which, as it avows, is friendly to the bank. It is in the following words:

Again, sir, it is to the interest of the people of every State that its banking business should be done by their own institutions. The stock of the Bank of the United States is owned principally, almost exclusively, by capitalists in a few of the large commercial cities, and in Eu rope. When a branch is sent into a State holding no stock, "BASE OF THE UNITED STATES.-We have been, and the profits arising from the business are withdrawn from still are, the fast friends of this institution. But, when we the people of the State, never to return to them. This view see it adopting a course fraught with distress and ruin to of the subject is more especially applicable to the State Our community, we shall not hesitate to condemn it. The which I have the honor to represent in part. In Alabama we receat order from the parent bank, requiring a further have a bank whose entire stock is owned by the State, all curtailment of discounts for the next fifty days at a rate the nett profits of which go into our treasury. This bank not much less than thirty per cent. is unprecedented in and its branches now do the greater portion of our busithe annals of this bank; and must, if persevered in by the ness, and will, no doubt, ultimately do the whole. I have local directory, be the cause of serious inconvenience and no means of knowing, accurately, the amount of banking sacrifice of property. In less than a year the branch here capital which may be required to afford necessary facili has curtailed its discounts almost one-half-from nearly ties to the people of the State; but I will suppose that, if $800,000 to $450,000; and at the present rate of cur- not now, there will shortly be, required capital to the tailment, the entire debt will be cancelled in less than fif- amount of $8,000,000. Taking this as the basis of calcuteen months more. We have looked in vain for a reason lation, the discounts on that sum, at the rate of six per for this injurious curtailment." centum, would amount to $480,000 per annum. Let the The same policy seems to have been pursued in the Bank of the United States, or any similar institution, do orders given the directors of the branch at Louisville, the business of the State, and we lose this amount annuKentucky; but it seems those directors had the laudable ally; on the contrary, let it be done by our own State firmness, and the public spirit, to refuse obedience. The banks, and this sum will go annually into our treasury, article which follows, taken from the Public Advertiser to exempt our citizens from taxation; and will eventually of that place, will show the rate at which the curtailment create an ample fund for all the purposes of internal imTas ordered: provement, for the support of common schools, and for every other public object desirable to a free and enlighteneď people.

"February 8. "THE RECENT ORDER.—The determination of the directors of the Branch Bank of this city, to disobey the The State institutions can also furnish a medium of exrecent order of the parent bank, has been very generally change between remote parts of the country. The exapproved. Even the friends of the bank approve it, be- periment has already been made to some extent, and, I Cause they can perceive no necessity for a measure so think, sufficiently to prove the fact. In the Southwest harsh and oppressive. It is known that the five Western we have seen a private banking association, without any branches' have been curtailing since February, 1831; that act of incorporation, (I allude to Yeatman, Wood, & Co. the debtors to those branches have contributed more than of Nashville,) who, by making a portion of their bills payafair proportion of the sum required to enable the insti- ble in Philadelphia, and depositing the funds to redeem tation to surmount the difficulties it had to encounter, in them there, have furnished, for years past, a large amount sequence of its previous extravagant issues-and, for of paper, uniformly at par with that of the United States ths reason, if no other could be assigned, the directors of Bank in that part of Tennessee and Alabama with which the Louisville branch owed it to their fellow-citizens to │I am acquainted, and I believe all the Southwest. The refuse to obey the order to diminish the discounts of the Union Bank of Tennessee has acted on the same princibranch $226,000 in the present month." ple, and has been equally successful. It has furnished,

With such facts before us, suffer me to ask if this is an to some extent, a medium of exchange of equal value from institution upon which any community can safely rely? A New Orleans to New York. Sir, this can be done by board of directors at Philadelphia, in whose election one other State institutions, and no doubt will be done. We individual possesses“ a preponderating control," appoints are not dependent on a Bank of the United States; and the directors of the branches; and this same board, at God forbid we ever should find ourselves in a situation so Philadelphia, or, perchance, the committee on offices, humiliating. But, if such an institution were indispensa without any accurate knowledge of the interests, necessible, ought the present bank, with all its unjustifiable as

H. OF R.]

The Public Deposites.

[MARCH 26, 1834

sumptions and malpractices, to be rechartered and per- of removal. Congress is the court to which the Secre petuated? I answer, no. Even in that contingency, tary appeals for a confirmation of his order and direction o which I cannot believe will exist, I would not continue removal; if this court be equally divided, no judgmen power in the same hands that have abused it. If we must can be given, confirming the order and direction of the have a Bank of the United States, let a new one be organ- Secretary; and, therefore, that order and direction ar ized, which will not already have proved itself unworthy not confirmed, but, of necessity, reversed; and the Secre of trust and confidence. tary is bound to reserve them, by giving orders and direc tions to the collectors of the revenue, and the Treasure of the United States, to deposite the public money in th United States Bank and its branches.

Sir, I have, perhaps, already occupied the time of the House too long, and will close my remarks. I think it has been established, if we vote to restore the deposites, we, in effect, vote to recharter the bank, and to perpetu- Before making any further allusion to the reasons of th ate its existence; if we do either, we acquit the bank of Secretary, it may be proper to give some reply to the argu all the charges admitted or proved against it. We shall, ment of the gentleman from Alabama, [Mr. MARDIS,] O in effect, give the sanction of our approbation to all its the resolution presented by him. He has, indeed, done th violations of the charter, and to all its abuses and corrup- best justice which could have been done to the case. No tions. We shall ratify and approve its unwarrantable as- the chamois, in his own native Alps, could spring from sumptions of the powers properly belonging to the consti- rock to rock with more agility; nor could the young par tutional organs and departments of the Government. In ther leap from one tree to another, in our own dee a word, we shall surrender the Government of the consti- forests, with more of muscular than he has displayed tution, prostrate ourselves at the feet of a bank directory, intellectual elasticity, in moving from point to point of thi and submit to the degrading and corrupting power and great argument. dictation of a moneyed corporation. May the power that guided and protected our fathers in their revolutionary conflict, guard and preserve us from this worse than colonial bondage.

When Mr. C. had concluded

Notwithstanding this, he does not seem to be aware how much he admits, by the very words of his resolution He would induce Congress to enact laws by which th doings of the Secretary of the Treasury may be confira ed. Those doings are either legal or illegal. If lega

On motion of Mr. SCHLEY, of Georgia, the House ad- they require no law to confirm them; for no law can re journed.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26.

PUBLIC DEPOSITES.

The consideration of Mr. MARDIS's resolution on the deposites, being the unfinished business of the morning hour,

Mr. BURGES once more took the floor in opposition to the resolution, and concluded his remarks. The whole of which are given in full as follows:

der them more than legal, more than lawful. If they a illegal, the gentleman does not intend, I must believe, t require of Congress the enactment of such Jaws as ma shield public officers themselves from punishment, whe the whole country is suffering from the effects of the own violations of the laws.

This gentleman, in the course of his argument, urg the House to confer on the State banks the power making a paper currency equal to that of the Unite States Bank. He tells us that he would do this, becaus the United States Bank is unconstitutional. The pow to make paper currency, is one of the powers of th The following is the resolution offered by Mr. MARDIS: United States Bank, and is one without which it cou Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means be not be a bank. If the constitution forbids Congress instructed to inquire into the expediency of reporting a confer on a United States Bank the power to ma bill requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to deposite bills of credit, or paper currency, by what legerdemai the public moneys of the United States in the State banks; can Congress confer that power on State banks? and, also, as to the expediency of defining by law all con- I do not remember any thing more, in the gentleman tracts hereafter to be made with the Secretary for the argument, which may require my attention. His w safe-keeping, management, and disbursement of the same. with the United States Bank is, in my opinion, no part Mr. BURGES sent up to the Speaker an amendment, the question; and his determination to die in the last ditc requiring all after the word "resolved" to be stricken is a death in metaphor, a ditch in song; and I have out, and that amendment to be inserted, by which the suf-belief that the gentleman from Alabama [Mr. MARDIS] ficiency of the Secretary's reasons, for his order and tends to support the Secretary's reasons, by any ditch direction to remove the public money, would be brought death less figurative. before the House, and made the only question for discussion. The SPEAKER suggested that, by some alterations, this amendment might be made in order; and Mr. BURGES proceeded as follows:

I shall, therefore, leave the bank, its constitutionali and the renewal of its charter, to the next Congress. O inquiry is concerning the national money; the causes, r or ostensible, for which it had been taken from the use Mr. Speaker: The amendment just offered by me, I the people; and the effects which have followed, a will put in the form suggested by the Chair, to bring it which will follow, this removal. It is my purpose to within the strictest requirements of order. In that form, before the House some of the many reasons which ha it will present to the House what has, from the first open-convinced me that the great object of this removal is t ing of this debate, seemed to me the sole question for extension of Executive power, and the gratification decision in both Houses of Congress: Are the reasons laid those men, in our country, who are devoted to the ex before us by the Secretary of the Treasury sufficient to cise of power and patronage. Before this can be w justify the order and direction given by him to remove done, it is needful to give some short history of the p the money of the United States from the bank and its gress of Executive power, and of the devotion to it in branches? If they are not, and the House of Representa-country; and also of the progress of that moneyed inter tives vote that they are not, then, because Congress do and power in our country, after which the Executive not sustain the Secretary of the Treasury, in his order now so greedily grasping. and direction of removal, he must leave the money where The condition of our country, with no hope for the law has ordered it to be deposited. Unless both Houses decide that the reasons are sufficient, the Secretary has failed to lay before Congress such reasons as, in their opinion, justify him in making the order and direction

change for the better, is indeed distressing. Sir, it is the magnitude, but the duration of our calamities wi renders them intolerable. Almost any evil may be inc siderable, if we have assurance that it cannot be lasti

MARCH 26, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

H. of R.

loved to admire and praise its glorious and overwhelming

or will be followed by enduring good. The present con-
dition of our country is indeed grievous; but what, what attributes.
sir, is this condition, when compared with that weight of
oppression, which public measures now seem preparing
to lay on the American people? If blight in the air, or the
withering breath of disease on the earth, were consuming
life in our land, and we were prostrated under His hand,
who in the midst of judgments always remembers mercy,
we should indeed be suffering, but not as we now are,
from the bitter assurance that all our present calamities
are but the beginning of sorrows.

These men were the ultras of those times, not purely federal, for that was, as Washington was, purely republican; but more than federal, and, in their own estimation, transcendently federal. In England, such men would have been the devotees of power, even "in the Stuarts' reign." These ultras, a deluded few then, in Washington's time, held to the doctrine that none but partisans of their own political creed were entitled to hold any office under the Government, although neither he nor his imIt has appeared, for some years past, that a settled pur-mediate successor held to any such doctrine; and that pose has been formed by the Executive to render useless, principle remained, in their times, a metaphysico-political if not utterly to abolish, every other department of power theory. The great body of the people were then whigs in our Government. Each one of them has in turn been of the purest principles; men warmed with that love of assailed by either calumny or violence. Who has forgot- liberty by which they had achieved the Revolution; and ten the time when a member of this House was waylaid they had established the United States Government to and shot at, almost instantly after he stept out over the preserve that liberty, and secure the benefits of that threshold of the Capitol? What man in this Hall can now Revolution. The ultras of those times found no sympathy question the reasons of the Secretary, and not by the Ex- with such a people, and their Government, devoted to ecutive press here, and by all affiliated papers elsewhere, the same elevated principles, gave no encouragement to be denounced as the bribed advocate of the bank? When the feelings and sentiments of those men, nor were ever has the Senate disagreed with the President, and not felt influenced, in any public measure, by their devotedness the blast of the same polluted breath? Nay, sir, in what and submission to political power. case has the Supreme Court given a decision, in any important question, where the Chief Magistrate held a different opinion, when that court has escaped from that rebuke, which has so frequently fallen upon this House, and upon the Senate?

This disposition of the Executive to draw around and arrogate to himself all the powers of the Government is at this time favored by opinions less doubtful, and feelings more devoted, than could ever, until now, have been found, in our country, to favor a like disposition, if a like disposition ever existed in any other President of the United States.

It is well known that a love of liberty in some men, and a devotedness to power in others, have marked almost every era in the history of our English race, both in Europe and in America. That history has given to each of these great classes of men a distinguishing political name; and we may find, on the record of past centuries, that the men devoted to liberty are denominated whigs-the men devoted to power are denominated tories.

When the federal administration was succeeded by what was called the democratic, that administration soon had its ultras, and those ultras became the tories of democracy. For many of those men, who had contended for the overthrow of power because it was federal, were then ready to devote themselves to the same power, if it were but surrounded and consecrated by the names and forms, the mere ritual of democracy. Democratic ultras carried into practice what had been a theory only among their federal predecessors. They were alike the devotees of power because it was power; but while the one believed in the right to exclude from appointment, the other exercised the right, and did exclude from appointment to office all those who were not of their own political creed. Although the principles of the Revolution were still active in the great mass of the people, yet the devotees of power and the aspirants of office had mingled with that mass very much of their own leaven of political subserviency.

The ultras of these two great parties, the federal and The tories of our Revolution were devoted to the power democratic ultras, united, coalesced, amalgamated, and of the British Crown, believed in the right divine of kings, and contended, not only that the English monarch ald do no wrong, but that, whatever he might do, we, bs colonial subjects, had no right to complain.

The whigs held to a different political creed, and beeved that the power of the Crown depended on the laws of the realm; that its origin was the will of the naton; and that the great object of all its exercise was the public benefit, both in the mother country and in the colonies.

The tories held to the opinion that no man ought to be admitted to any office of honor or emolument, unless he were himself a tory, a believer in the divine origin and the unlimited nature of kingly power.

became, and now are, the controlling elements of that portion of our fellow-citizens who at this time hold the power of the National Government, and direct all the movements of administration.

Where, sir, and in what country, can we find any collection of men so entirely devoted, both in feelings and sentiments, to the two great English tory principles-submission to power because it is power, and exclusion from office of all those who dare to question the political creed or the political administration of that power?

I repeat the assertion, that arrogance of power was never in this country, until now, so recklessly sustained by political submission and subserviency. Alas for our It was otherwise holden by the whigs; merit was their country! Had the prophetic ken of the patriarch reachpassport to appointment; and even until the commence-ed to our times, he might have seen in us a yoke-fellow, ment of the revolutionary war they held in high respect a follower under the carrier's saddle, for his own degenali Crown officers who did not abuse their trust. erate Issachar. Are we not veritably the patient animal, couching down between two burdens, the power that now is and the power that is to be, and both laid in the panniers and placed upon us at once?

After this Government was organized in the United States, although all devotion to the British Crown had en utterly destroyed and swallowed up in the Revolution, yet, when it appeared that power and patronage Men, in any country, may distinguish themselves by Delonged to the President of the United States, some men whatever political names they may choose, and those were found disposed to devote themselves to that power. names may cover, but can never change or conceal, their It was not because that power was constitutional, and be- principles or their feelings. Let them be written on the towed for benignant purposes; nor because the great catalogue of men, and called over in the ear of the peopatriot and father of his country had been elected to the ple, as federalists, or republicans, or democrats, they exercise of it, but purely because it was power, and they will, when history shall record the national transactions of

« السابقةمتابعة »