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JUNE 24, 1834.]
The Deposite Bill.
[H. of R.
with an analytical attempt to ascertain the exact propor. I val from the local commerce would be deeply felt. The tion that should exist between them. All that it is now withdrawals and sudden arrivals of considerable amounts necessary to understand, is, that our currency is composed of specie would occasion injurious fluctuations, which, of too much paper and too little coin.
though small in degree, and limited in extent, in each inWe must change the proportion. There is no fear that stance, would be deeply injurious in the aggregate. we shall have too much coin or too little paper. Every I will not follow the inquiry further. It is evident that change will make the currency more stable, will diminish metallic currency is as unfit for general commerce as it is the evil influence of the banks, while it increases their necessary for local commerce. The question at once salutary agency, and will preserve our farmers, mechan- arises, What is the proper currency? It must be transics, and merchants, from the periodical losses which they ferable, and such as, when used, will not withdraw any have heretofore suffered.
portion of productive capital from the community, How, Mr. Speaker, is this object to be accomplished? The interchange of commodities, effected by commerce, Commerce comprises two divisions:
suggests at once the means. 1st. Local commerce.
He who owes the New Orleans merchant for his groce2d. General commerce.
ries, applies to the pork merchant, to whom the commis. It is necessary that the currency should, by the divisionsion merchant at New Orleans is indebted for his produce, of its value, be adapted to both of these.
and pays him in money for an order on the commission Local commerce comprises all traffic which does not merchant. This is sent to the grocer, who, on applicarequire the transportation to a distance of either of the tion to the commission merchant,
obtains the money. The values exchanged. All ordinary purchases and sales same is done in New Orleans, and the debts, all round, which are occurring every moment in every part of the are discharged without sending a dollar out of either Union, incalculable in number and in amount, come under neighborhood. this head-including all the ordinary transactions of the But, as those who owe debts in distant places cannot farmer, the mechanic, the lawyer, the doctor, indeed easily find the persons who have debts owing to them in every citizen except the merchant.
the same places, an agency is necessary to do this business, These constitute at least three-fourths of the entire As a matter of course, it falls into the hands of banks or commerce of the country. As no transportation of money bankers. is necessary, the metallic coins would answer, even Those who owe debts abroad pay the amount in money though the amounts were larger than they ordinarily are. to the nearest bank, and receive, instead, an order or bill Gold pieces of $20, $10, $5, and silver dollars and balves, of exchange on the bank near which the debt is to be with quarters, tenths, twentieths, (5 cent pieces,) and paid. Meanwhile, those abroad who owe debts in this cents, for change, would answer every purpose. The country, have in like manner purchased bills of exchange proposition is too plain for doubt. I proceed to the sec- of their own banks on the banks in this country, and forond branch, general commerce, in which one or both of warded them to their creditors here. the values exchanged is transported to a distance.
All the debts are thus paid, without the transportation I will first remark, as a general principle, that, when of a dollar; the bank receiving a small premium on each any article of value is transported from the place of pro- bill, as a compensation for its services. duction to the place of consumption, a corresponding As the debis mutually owed do not exactly balance each value is returned from the place of consumption to the other in point of time, the banks find it expedient to explace of original production. When applied to local tend their business on their own capital, and to ensure commerce, this merely means that every article which is greater confidence by becoming responsible for the puncbought, is, in general, paid for.
tual payment of their bills of exchange. To take an example. The western merchants buy, on This is the system of exchange now in operation. A credit, goods in New York, sell them for produce in the more admirable or important one cannot be found in the West, ship this to New York to pay for their goods. whole frame-work of society. It is to commerce what
This is the simplest possible case, and one which does printing is to knowledge. not very often occur. Our own farmers are frequently It was by deranging this that the United States Bank their own merchants take their produce to New Orleans, produced embarrassment among the merchants, far more sell it for money, purchase groceries with a part, return than by the direct operation of diminishing its discounts. with the rest, and pay cash to the merchant for his dry Had it merely ceased to issue domestic bills of exchange, good3. This cash the merchant must now transmit to the State banks would have supplied the void. But its New York, to pay for his goods. It would be as tedious operations were artfully directed to prevent, or at least as it is unnecessary to trace out this principle in the infi. delay, the application of this remedy. The attempt has nite and complicated varieties of its application. failed, and its effect has passed, or at least only remaing
It is evident that, as the products of one country can- in memory, that justice may be done to those who adnot, in most instances, be exchanged directly for those of vised and aided it. another, that the returning or paying value must be cur- From what has been said it is evident that there must rency, or transferable capital.
be at least enough paper money or bills of exchange for If there were no currency but metallic coins, a large general commerce. There are branches of general conportion of the coins of one place would be travelling to merce for which paper money, in the form of ordinary another, at the same instant that a like portion of the coin bank bills, of a high denomination, would suffice, and of the second place was travelling to the first place. For probably another increase of notes for large amounts instance: New Orleans sends groceries to Cincinnati, and might be made without risk, to be used in the largest Cincinnati sends produce to New Orleans.' Supposing na payments of local commerce. But every such increase currency but coins, the money to pay for the groceries takes the place of the corresponding quantity of metallic would be on its way from Cincinnati to New Orleans at coins, and by so much diminishes the stability of the cur. the same time that the money to pay for the produce rency, and, when carried further, converts it into a would be on its way from New Orleans to Cincinnati. power fluctuating at every impulse, and ruinous in every
The inconvenience and expense of transporting the Huctuation. coin, although small in the instance mentioned, would be, If, then, any paper money is issued, beside bona in most cases, an oppressive tax upon the people. This fide bills of exchange, the notes must be for such amounts would not be the only evil; the coin, while on its way, that they will not come immediately in competition with would be a dead loss of commercial capital, and its remo- the metallic coins.
H. OF R.)
The Deposile Bill.
(JUNE 24, 1834.
Withdraw all bank notes under five dollars, and silver
Strong indeed must be the prejudices, and bitter the dollars and halves will rapidly fill their place.
party feeling, which will prevent a western man from supWithdraw all notes under ten dollars, and the same porting it. Those who come from the cities, who have effect will be produced in a higher degree.
been associated with the stockholders and stock brokers, The excellent proposition of the committee on coins for them there may be some excuse, however weak and will, if passed into a law, greatly aid this operation, by insufficient. But we of the West, who are not saddled causing gold to circulate with silver, and thus enabling with such a moneyed power, nor yet cursed with the us to diminish the quantity of bank notes more than we system in all its complicated and injurious excess--we, could otherwise do.
whose constituents are industrious farmers and mechanics, By carrying it still further, and withdrawing all bank whose property depends upon a stable currency, how we note's under twenty dollars, gold and silver pieces would can oppose the measure passes my knowledge. If the soon fill their places.
bank party dislike the financial system of the Government, We need not fear going too far-the danger is in duing as now existing, they should vote for this bill, to place it too little, not too much. We see the limit fixed, by the on a better footing. wants of general commerce, far ahead of us. It is im
I agree, with them, that it is inexpedient to leave the possible for us to reach it. Even if any apprehensions temporary arrangement made by the Treasury as it is. were entertained of our doing too much, the gradual Highly as I esteem the ability and integrity of the Secre. manner in which the change is to be effected will remove tary of the Treasury, and the pure patriotism and enlightthem. In its progress we shall have full opportunity for enéd judgment of the President, I would not wish the examination and experience, which will, if impartially State banks to remain connected with the Government as acted upon, urge us forward to its completion.
they now are, unless an imperious necessity required it. I will not lengthen out a speech, already too long, by For once, let us thrust aside party barriers, and move an investigation of the proportion which should exist on calmly and impartially in the discussion and adoption between the paper money and the metallic coin, and the of this measure. proportion which should probably exist under the sys- If the distressed gentlemen are really desirous of apply. tem proposed.
ing a corrective to our fluctuating currency, if they will It may be remarked, generally, that the paper money cease awbile from panic speeches and panic letters, and would be in far greater proportion to the business done turn seriously to the business of legislation, an opportuniby it, to wit, general commerce, than the metallic coins ty is now afforded of applying that correction. Grant to the business performed by it, to wit, the local com- that the mode of applying it be not the one they would
prefer, yet they should lend their aid in rendering it as The metallic coins, great in number and small in their effectual as possible. I do not myself believe that the several amounts, change hands rapidly and incessantly, system proposed in the bill will effect the purpose as easimaking by each change an item of local commerce. ly and as rapidly as a properly-constituted United States While the notes and bills of exchange, few in number, Bank would do. But for two years we cannot bring into and large in amount, change hands far less frequently, operation a new bank, even if we were all agreed as to requiring in many instances considerable time to perform the restrictions required by the constitution. The meas. a single act of general commerce.
ure proposed is the only one which is practicable. It has This will account for the disproportion at present been shown to answer the purposes of the Government; existing between them, which is apparently contradictory it cannot operate injuriously until the United States Bank of the principles I have stated.
notes are withdrawn from circulation, and by that time, Many of the errors in opinion upon this subject would if we join heartily in applying the corrective provided by in like manner be explained away or converted into con- the bill
, it will be out of the power of any or all the bank's firmations. I wish much that i had time to examine to seriously affect our currency. Meanwhile, it leaves us some of the most common, by bringing them to the test of perfectly free to modify or abolish it, as experience may the principles which I have laid down.
direct. A decent respect for our constituents should of These errors have arisen almost entirely from the want itself induce us to support this measure, that we may of a clear understanding of the differences between local learn the opinions to which the events of the last six and general commerce, and the currency required for months have given rise, instead of forestalling their influeach.
ence by binding them down to an institution which they The merchant engaged in general commerce sees may utierly reject. plainly that coins will not do his business, and therefore But the hope of their acquiescence is, perhaps, visionthinks a metallic currency the dream of a visionary. ary. It is the necessary consequence of bigh excitement,
Financiers and writers upon the subject, deceived by that men, acting in mass, are, by their own momentum, the apparently large amounts of the business of general com- forced farther than any one individual would have gone. merce, and not noting the infinite rills which constitute Party animosity grows into a habit; and those who are local commerce, have strengthened the erroneous opin- tainted with it read, speak, and think, of but one side. ions by ingenious arguments.
It is far more probable that they will do as some of them I am not aware that the distinction has ever before have done before. The same influences were brought to been clearly taken. I hope that the novelty will not pre. bear when the last United States Bank approached the vent the truth from being acknowledged and acted upon. expiration of its charter. A quotation from a speech of
It is true that the effect will be to diminish the circula- the same distinguished geutleman from whom I have al. tion and the corresponding profits of the banks; but a ready quoted, will show an identity as remarkable as it is thousand fold indemnification will be found in the perfect reprehensible. currency, which would ensure to personal worth its due credit, and to honest industry its proper reward.
Extract from Mr. Clay's speech on the bill to renew the bank I need not say that I consider the United States Bank, charter of 1791, made in Congress, February 15, 1811. and the removal of the deposites, subordinate to this great “I shall not stop to examine how far a representative is question. Thoroughly convinced as I am of its necessity bound by the instructions of his constituenis. That is a and importance to the nation, I cannot regard without question between the giver and receiver of the instrucdeep regret the obstacles which party politics may pre- tions. But I must be permitted to express my surprise at sent to the passage of a bill essential to the interests of our the pointed difference which has been made between the common constituents.
opinions and instructions of State Legislatures, and the Jone 24, 1834.]
The Deposite Bill.
(H. OF R.
opinions and details of the deputations, with which we out the commercial part of the United States, arising have been surrounded, from Philadelphia. Wbilst the from bankruptcies in England, which have occasioned resolutions of these Legislatures-known, legitimate, con- the return of many bills from England protested. These stitutional, and deliberative bodies have been thrown in are the causes which produce distress, and will continue the back ground, and their interference regarded as offi- to produce it, until we are a people less dependent on cious, these delegations from self-created societies, com- foreign commerce. But believing as I do on this subject, posed of whom nobody knows, have been received by the viewing the effects of this great political moneyed institucommittee with the utmost complaisance. Their commu- tion with abhorrence, I would not vote for it, let the nications have been treasured up with the greatest dili- temporary distress be what it may. I would rather see gence. Never did the Delphic priests collect with more the present crop of hemp broughi to one deposite, which holy care the frantic expressions of the agitated Pythia, would make a bulk larger than this Capitol, and consu. or expound them with more solemnity to the astonished med with a lighted torch, and ascend to the heavens in Grecians, than has the committee gathered the opinions smoke as a sacrifice, than vote for the passage of this and testimony of these deputies, and, through the gentle- law; and, sir, the people I represent would justify my vote. man from Massachusetts, pompously detailed them to the They would bear the loss without a murmur, they would Senate! Philadelphia has her immediate representatives, act the part of freemen worthy of freedom, they would capable of expressing her wishes, upon the floor of the magnanimously bear the calamity without complaint, if other House. If it be improper for States to obtrude upon their patriotism required the sacrifice. They are a most Congress their sentimenis, it is much more highly so for worthy people, a virtuous people, an enlightened people, the unauthorized deputies of fortuitous congregations.”- a glorious people, descendants of this great American History of Bank, p. 354.
family, inheriting that spirit of independence which I leave to others the application of the quotation. equally sustained our cause under defeat and victory, Prophecies of ruin were then made, and the prophets upon all the battle-grounds of our Revolution. I will not worked anxiously for their fulfilment. The same who be alarmed out of my vote by clamor, no matter from prophesied that the election of Jefferson, the repeal of the what quarter it may assail me. I never will be driven sedition law, the war, nay, our many viciories, would ruin from my duty by alarms and fears. I will stand firm to us. Happy country, that could thus be ruined! Although the cause I conceive to be just, and the people will supthe gentleman from whom I have quoted no longer advo- port me; they despise wavering and temporizing. If you cates the principles for which he then contended, not continue this charter twenty years more, you can never withstanding this and other changes read to us the humild put it down." See p. 233. iating lesson, that, while events sweep onward in one “No, sir; instead of having petitions which would reach unvarying chain of cause and consequence, the men who from the Speaker to the seats of the members, you would patriotically and ably struggled against them at one time have them packed upon your tables until they would become their pliant tools at another; yet enough of those intercept my view in addressing you. Yes, sir, they who were then foremost in the democratic cause still re- would rise up higher, and implore that Goddess of Liber. main among us, to aid us with their counsel and experi- ty who presides over the deliberations of this House. We
are told that this bank is necessary to the collection, A speech made against the recharter of the United safe-keeping, and the transmission of the revenue to dif. States Bank in 1811, by my honorable friend from Ken- ferent parts of the United States. It is stated that the tucky, (Colonel Johnson, ) then, as now, a distinguished State banks are strangers to us, and cannot be trusted member of this House, furnishes an explanation of the with the deposite of public money. I am sorry to hear present and a guide to the future. This contest is to him such a sentiment. It has originated from a panic, an but a repetition of the battles of his youth, and will but alarm, an ideal danger. That great and good man, the increase the many obligations which this country grate. Secretary of the Treasury, has told you otherwise by his fully acknowledges to be due to him.
report now before me, of date 12th January, in which it “The influence of this bank is palpable and notorious. appears that of about $2,400,000, upwards of $800,000 We bave the evidence from the long roll of petitions now are deposited in the State banks, $75,000 of which are imploring Congress to renew the charter. if in twenty deposited in the State Bank of Kentucky, and I should be years this bank is to be the idol of some and the alarm of sorry if it was not as safe there as in the hands of the others-if the solvency of so many individuals depend on United States Bank, in the possession of foreigners. If it-if ruin and devastation will, in the event of its disso-State banks will not do, let the United States build vaults lution, spread wide in the country--then, sir, it will for the safe-keeping of the revenue. only require twenty years more to make it stronger than “But, sir, the alarining consequences which must arise the Government. To induce us to vote for this institu- from a dissolution of this corporation. It will deprive us tion, we bave been persuaded, Aattered, alarmed, peti. of a circulating medium, it will interrupt commerce and tioned, and threatened; and we have been amused with produce bankruptcies. It is to produce the distress of the rise and history of the banking system.”
farmers and the ruin of merchants; it is to prevent emiHow truly this presents the present power of the bank; gration, and it is to strike the foundations of the Govern. and the succeeding paragraph may apply now to the ment. This picture gives me no alarm. It is the picture entire West as it then applied to Kentucky.
of a wild and distempered imagination. If serious injury Again: " My colleague, (Mr. McKEE,] whose opinions will be felt by many in the power of this moneyed aris. I had been in the habit of considering as my own, until tocracy, I feel and sympathize with the sufferings of those this unfortunate question which divides us, has stated who may be needy without any fault of their own; but that, in his opinion, the dissolution of this institution something is due to posterity, and even in that point of would be felt by the citizens of the Western country, and view I am not willing to entail upon them the baneful that our surplus hemp would not command as good a effects of a great moneyed corporation, with a capital of price. I differ in opinion from my colleague, if he sup- twenty millions of dollars, extending its arms of power poses the Western country will feel any great pressure and influence to every part of the United States, and from the dissolution of this bank. Igrant, the people of having the destiny of good men within its control, whenKentucky may not be entirely exempt from some incon- ever it receives the nod to exercise its giant power. No, veniences common on such an event. But our produce sir, I am ready to see and feel the sad crisis which has will fall from other very different causes. Interruptions been described. If we die with less money, we shall live in commerce, stagnation in trade, bankruptcies througb- in more bonor and enjoy more happiness. I wish to see
H. OF R.]
The Deposite Bill.
[JUNE 24, 1834.
whether so much depends upon this corporation: If so, it during that period, of doing any injury; it diminishes is the greater reason why the poison should be destroyed. central, and increases State influences, and offers a defi. Like the strong man we read of in holy writ, let us see if nite mode for the gradual correction of our currency, the the violent death of this corporate body will pull down common object of all. the pillars of the constitution, that another Volney may Should it prove incompetent, I shall readily join in sit upon the ruins of this Capitol and mourn the fallen adopting another system, and in the examination of the empire of this great and happy republic.”
present arrangement, and its comparison with the new These arguments are at this moment entirely, peculiarly system, we shall be aided by the experience of the in. applicable.
tervening time, and guided by the opinions of our con. At that time they were deemed amply sufficient by the stituents, with which we shall then be fully acquainted. democratic party throughout the Unions and time, how- By adopting this measure we shall quiet the excite. ever much it may change individuals, cannot change prin- ment which has extended its baneful influence even to ciples. Those who advocate these principles will be the personal relations of the members of this House; we with the people, whether their opponents call them shall be able to part in cordiality and kindness, and to democrats or tories, and their opponents will be against meet our constituents with the happy consciousness of the people, whether their names be federals or whigs. having faithfully performed the daties which they assign
Let us fervently hope that no national disasters will now ed to 119. occur to force us from the judicious application of these When Mr. Laxe had taken his seat, principles.
Mr. McVEAN rose and commenced by stating that The, war which followed the expiration of the charter he desired to call the attention of members to ihe posiof the last United States Bank, stimulated the State banks tion the House occupied in relation to the subject-malter to excessive issues, which drove specie out of the country, then under discussion. We have (said Mr. McV.) passed and stimulated a wild spirit of adventure, that raised a resolution declaring that the charter of the Bank of the prices far beyond the proper standard. On the return United States ought not to be renewed; we have passed of peace, when our excessive paper-money prices came a resolution declaring that the deposite of the public in collision with the cash values of foreign countries, the moneys ought not to be made in the United States Bank; bubble burst at once, spreading ruin over all. The and we have also passed a resolution declaring that pro. general failure of the ill-managed banks, and the utter vision ought to be made by law to continue the deposite prostration of business, created a universal necessity, of the public moneys in the State banks. It is in affirmwhose urgent calls occasioned the chartering of the present ance of, and with a view to carry into effect, the principle bank. Thus hastily ushered into existence, with powers advanced in the last resolution, that the bill now under heedlessly granted, far more than it was safe or expedient consideration was introduced by the Committee of Ways to grant, the bank was raised into successful operation by and Means. Its adoption is opposed by the gentleman the elastic nature of public confidence, a wanton abuse of from Georgia, (Mr. Foster,) and other gentlemen who which has been its ruin.
have this day addressed the House, on the ground that But we are now safe from a like disaster, and the safety the public moneys were illegally removed from their deis strengthened by our knowledge of the causes of such posite in the United States Bank. disasters.
I shall briefly state the main argument advanced in supWe can now proceed to apply these principles to our port of this position, and then endeavor, with equal brev. legislation. The people always have sustained them, and ity, to give it an answer. The argument is, that the act always will sustain them. The only hindrances are such of removal originated with the President, whilst the disas may be presented by the skirmishes of a party warfare. cretionary power of removal was confined to the Secre.
We have had, unfortunately, too much of this already. tary of the Treasury, not as a subordinate, but as an indeIt has protracted our session and occupied our time to pendent officer of the Government; that, although, in no purpose, except an injurious and angry excitement. point of form, the Secretary did the act, it was, in spirit Legislative discussions, whose sole object should be the and in truth, the act of the President, wbo had no right ascertainment of great political trutbs, have been convert- to advise, direct, or control that officer; and the act, not ed into opportunities for the exhibition of the ingenuity or being his, according to the true intent and meaning of the the passions of the debaters, or for the far less pardon-law, is, for that reason alone, reversible. Sir, if these able purpose of deluding the public mind as to the causes premises were true, I should concur in the conclusion, for which have affected the public interest.
I am as far as any person from giving my approval to any Recent votes bave shown that a large majority of this measure of Government which rests its claim for that apHouse are weary of such discussions, and are willing to proval on its former accuracy alone. I will, sir, permit unite upon the measures required by the public interest. an officer of Government, in a court of justice, or in en
I shall be gratified if the reasons which I have present-forcing obedience to his official commands, to show, in ed, and which, upon careful examination, have convinced his justification, that all the formalities of law have been my own judgment, shall have the slightest effect in aiding observed by him. But here, sir, at the bar of this House, this purpose.
or at the bar of public opinion, I will allow no such justiWe all desire to make an arrangement which will fication. The act must be right, not only in form, but in facilitate the financial operations of the Government and substance also. Not only the body must be perfect, but correct our national currency.
the animating principle also. Those who believe (and I am one of them) that a The independence of the Secretary of the Treasury is United States Bank, properly restricted, would best effect attempted to be maintained, on the assumption that the these two objects, will agree with me, that our own dif- Treasury Department is not an Executive department; ferences of opinion, as to the nature and extent of these and this assumption, it is said, is proved by the peculiar restrictions, render the organization of it utterly imprac- phraseology of the act establishing the Treasury Departticable, and its organization, even if practicable, would inent, as well as by the particular mode of expression be utterly useless during the two years that must inter- adopted in the bank charter. The act creating the Treas. vene before it goes into operation.
ury Department does not, either in its title or in its body, The arrangement proposed by the bill is shown to be denominate it an Executive department, in express terms; practicable by former and recent experience. It is the and in this it differs from some of the acts establishing the only one that can possibly exist until the present bank the other Executive departments of the Government. charter expires. It binds tis to nothing; it is incapable, From this difference it is argued that Congress intend. Joxe 24, 1834.]
The Deposite Bill.
[H. of R.
ed, by this most obscure negative implication, to deny surprising; for I aver that it is not in the power of human to it an executive character. But, sir, how do we language to reserve power more absolute and unqualified arrive at the character of a particular office! From its than is done in this grant. There are no directions given name, or from the duties belonging to it! Are we not for, and no restraints imposed upon, his power of action; to inquire into the nature of the services required to be he is merely required to report the reasons which induced performed by it, in assigning to it its character? What him to act, after the consummation of the deed. are the duties of the office of the Secretary of the 'Treas- The very direction as to his subsequent conduct is ury? Are they, in their nature, judicial, legislative, or equivalent to a denial of the position that he is to receive executive? The answer will determine the classifica- his instructions from Congress previous to his action; for, tion of the office, and not the title of the act establishing if Congress be in session, he is directed to report to it im. the office. I would respectfully ask of those who place mediately his reasons for the removal. What sublime so much importance in names, or rather, in this instance, mockery it would be to witness the Secretary reporting in the absence of any qualifying name, whether, in their the reasons which governed him in the performance of an opinion, a clause in the act establishing the State, War, official act to the very Congress from which he had reof Navy Departments, declaring, in express terms, that ceived instructions to do the very act, and without which they should not be considered Executive departments, instructions he could not have acted at all! It would be would in the least affect their character as such? Or, to giving him the power and the faculties of an automaton, go further, suppose the act establishing the Treasury De- and, at the same time, holding him to the strictest moral partment was entitled " An act to create a legislative or accountability! judicial department, to be denominated the Treasury De. I have authority for saying that the Secretary of the partment," would that title affect the character of its Treasury is entirely independent of the control of Conprescribed duties, or make the functions of the office ju. gress in this matter--authority which no friend of the dicial or legislative? I say it would not, sir; for, although bank will feel himself at liberty to question. I alluded, I am willing to admit the potency of a name, I deny that sir, to what was said by the honorable member from Pennit can either make white black, or hlack white-a power sylvania, (Mr. Binney,) at the commencement of this Con. that seems to be claimed for it in this instance.
gress, the first time the House had the pleasure of listening It has been found necessary, in the support of this ar- to him. The question then discussed was the proper ref: gument, to assert that the Treasury Department is a legis. erence of the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, aslative department, and that the Secretary of the Treasury signing his reasons for the removal of the deposites. That is the fiscal agent of the Legislature. Let us, for one mo- honorable member then stated that the Secretary of the ment, cxamine this matter. An agent is a person appointed Treasury sustained the relation of umpire between the to execute the will and purposes of his principal. A legisla- bank and the Congress. Mark, Mr. Speaker, the relative agent is a person appointed to execute the will and pur- lation of umpire. That gentleman is a distinguished lawposes of the Legislature. How does the Legislature give yer, and he well knows the character of an umpire. It expression to its will and purposes? By the enactment of is, sir, that of perfect independence of the parties between laws, and by the enactment of laws only. A legislative whom he is to decide. No stronger figure could be used agent, therefore, is a person appointed to execute the laws to show that the Secretary is not the agent of the Conof the Legislature. And here, sir, we have arrived at the gress, and the bank, or of either of them. The honorprecise definition of an executive officer, such as the con- able member asserted that the Secretary was the umpire, stitution of the United States has declared the President and his decision the award, and that through that award to be. To give the Secretary of the Treasury, as a legis. Congress derived its whole power of action over the sublative agent, the power to execute laws independently of ject, as an appellate tribunal. That the power in Conthe Executive, would not only be a robbery of the powers gress, now to act in this matter, was not an original, but of the President, but also a usurpation on the part of a derivative power, derived from the action of the SecreCongress, and a most flagrant violation of the constitution, tary, and, consequently, that we were confined in our which has placed the law-making and the law-executing action to the review of the reasons assigned by the Secpowers in different hands. The executive authority of retary of the Treasury. this Government is vested exclusively in the President Sir, there is nothing in all the noise we have heard by the constitution, and as well might the President cre- about despotism and usurpation, but the clamor of poliate an agency to make laws as Congress an agency toticians who are hungering and thirsting after place. There execute laws, insubordinate to the constitutional Execu- is nothing in any of the measures of the administration, in tive. But, sir, it is said, admitting the Secretary of the respect to this whole matter, that cannot find a precedent Treasury to be an executive officer, that, by the act char- in all the administrations since the establishment of the Gov. tering the bank, the power given to him was distinct from ernment under the existing constitution. Sir, the powers that of his office. independently of the constitutional of this Government in relation to the Congress and Execuobjections that might be successfully urged against this tive are well defined. Congress has absolute as well as pleproposition, 1 answer, a grant to the Secretary of the nary power over the revenues and moneys belonging to Treasury is a grant to the office, and not to the individual. the Government. It can direct the place where they shall The act does not grant the power to the person who, for be kept, by whom kept, when removed, and for what the time being, shall be Secretary of the Treasury, but purpose removed; but it is, nevertheless, the duty of the to the Secretary of the Treasury. Instead of its being a President to see that all laws made by Congress respectnew appointment, in reference to an office, it is the en ing them are faithfully executed, and of this power he largement of the duties of a pre-existing office.
cannot be divested-he cannot even divest himself of it. The error of investing the Secretary of the Treasury Having, as I humbly conceive, answered the principal with a legislative agency, which has obtaine: plausibility argument against the right of removal of the deposites, I by the wrongful substitution of terms, has been follow- will not now trouble the House with any argument as to ed up by other errors of opinion more and more fla- the expediency of that measure. It is, I believe, admit. grant. I believe, sir, that the gentleman from Georgia ted by nearly all the members of this House that the State Mr. Foster] denies that the Secretary of the Treasury banks must be used as a depository of the public moneys, bad the power of removing the deposites at all, except in if the Bank of the United States is not to be rechartered. obedience to express instructions received from Congress, The gentleman from Illinois, near me, (Mr. Duncan,) as his legislative principal. How any person, with the bank a substitute for the bill reported by the Committee of charter before him, can make this assertion, is, to me, Ways and Means, has offered a bill to recharter the Bank