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The Madisonian. [volume] (Washington City [D.C.]) 1837-1845, July 17, 1841, Image 1

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Ctorotff??bftoeittli Congress.
Saturday, July 10,1841.
The PRESIDENT laid before the Senate a message
from the President of the United States, in compliance
with a resolution, showing the progress under
the commission for the settlement of our affairs with
After some remark* from Mr. LINN and Mr.
PRESTuN, it was referred to the Committee on Foreign
Mr. CLAY presented a petition from a number of
citizens of Barbour county, Alabama, stating the
grievances, they, in common with other citizens, labor
under in consequruce of the suspension by the banks;
that their business was greatly embarrassed by the derangement
of the exchanges, which ranged from fifteen
to twenty per cent, between there and Augusta
and Savannah, in Georgia. Mr. C. said he presented
the petition with pleasure, in hope that the evil complained
of would soon be cured, and he moved that it
be laid on the table and printed; which was agreed
Mr. PRESTON presented a memorial from citizens
I of Brooklyn, New York, praying the establishment
of a bankrnpt law.
Mr. P. said the memorial was numerously signed
by persons of that place, designating their several avocations
in life. Why he hau been selected to make
the presentation he could not tell, not having any
knowledge personally of the memorialists. With regard
to the bankrupt law, as reported, it could never receive
his sanction ; and if he gave his support to any measure
of i he kind, it must be one that would be within
the scope of the Constitution, and regarding alike the
rights of the creditor and the debtor.
Mr. TALLMADGE presented two memorials from
citizens of New York, in favor of a bankrupt law.
Mr. WOODBBIDGE presented a memorial in favor
of a National Bank.
The Senate then-proceeded to the discussion of the
resolution submitted by Mr. Buchanan, calling for
the names of nersons removed from office since the
4th of March last.
Mr. LINN being entitled to the floor, said he was
very unfortunate in having only a few minutes to address
the Senate each morning j he would greatly prefer
to have had an hour to devote to it. [> Senator
near: Never mind, give it in broken doses.] Really
the subject bad tffown so cold that he hardly knew
where he left off ; but Wbiggery was such an ocean
of incongruities he could plunge in any where and
catch something. In one dive he might bring up to
the surface an abolitionist and State Rights Whig; at
another plunge he could bring up a Washington Benevolent
Society, a peace party in war, and a war
party in peace j in short, there could be no difficulty
in placing in juxtaposition the widest extremes. He
said the Whig party had not ?tnty cheated the Deer
cracy out of power, but had absolutely cheated them out
of their very name, while from their composition they
(despised the name they had stolen. He had often
heard them in private circles express contempt for the
democracy. This party had not only been false to
others, but was untrue to itself. In the defeats it had
sustained, it became broken and dispirited, and was
held together by the energy of one man. Yet what
did it dot He would read a letter which had fallen
into his hands, as an evidence of their want of gratitude
to the man fiom whose indomitable spirit they
were indebted almost for their very existence as a par
ty. [Here Mr. Linn read a letter which had been
confidently circulated a little while before the nomination
in Harrisburg, giving reasons why Mr. Clay
ought not to be nominated, die.] The morning hour
having expired, Mr. Linn gave way.
The Senate then proceeded to the discussion of the
special order, being the bill to incorporate the subscribers
to the Fiscal Bank of the United States.
Mr. WOODBURY moved to amend the bill by
inserting a proviso, prohibiting directors or stockholders
from making any donations.
Mr. CLAY presumed the Senator from N. Hampshire
had in view some exercise of his gratuitous
power in the late bank. There was no objection to
the amendment, only that it went a little too fur. He
could conceive of many cases where the exercise of
such a power might be beneficial. He asked if gentlemen
were prepared to create a corporation, and de,
prive it of vitality, in short, making it what Lord
Coke, designated a corporation, a body without a soul.
He would move so to amend it as to prohibit donations
being made to officers of the banks.
Mr. WOODBURY avowed his object to be that
directors should not app'y the funds of Government to
any purposes, nor lhat donations should be made by
f the stockholders to officers of the bank. There might
be cases to call for the exercise of this power, but every
such case should be laid before the stockholders,
and he would not allow the directors to act.
Mr. CLAY said it was impossible to conceive of
all the cases in human life where there might beWlls
for the exercise of this power. An officer of thXnstitution,
for instance, with a large family, might accidentally
be killed in his v^ry endeavors to save the
building from tire, and yet, according to the provision
of the Senator from New Hampshire, enough to save
his family from starvation could not be granted until
the annual meeting of the stockholders. There were
many other cases which miirht be cited to show the ne
cessity of leaving the power where it w?s, only prohibiting
donation* to officers of the institution.
Mr. WOODBURY would ask if the end of the
Treasury should fall down and kill every man, would
the officers have a right to put their hands into the
Treasury to relieve the families of persons so killed 1
It was very well to be charitable with our own money,
k , but not with that belonging to the people. He was
unwilling to have the public Treasury f ut under the
surveillance of the directors or stockholders.
Mr. HENDERSON would vote for the amendment
^ to the amendment, but then he should vote against the
whole. He held that the stockholders had no right,
under any circumstances, to give away the funds oi
. \ the institution.
Mr. LINN desired to reach the evil effectually. It
was well known that donations had been made for internal
improvements, anil for many other things, by
the late Bank. There might be cases where directors
and stockholders would be justified ; but if you gave
them at all, it was certain to run into abuse. Darticu
lurlv where a Bank waa concerned.
The question waa then taken on Mr. Clay's amendment
to the amendment, anil resulted as follows :
YEAS?Messrs. Archer, Barrow, Bites, Bayard,
Chonte, Clay, of Kentucky, Clayton, Dixon, Evans,
Henderson, Huntington, Kerr, Mangum, Merrick,
Miller, Morehead, Phelps, Porter, Prentiss, Preston,
Rives, Simmons, Smith, of Indiana, Tallmadge,
White, Woodbridge?2f>.
NAYS.?Messrs. Allen, Benton, Calhoun, Clay,
of Alabama, Cuthbert, Fulton, King, Linn, McRoberts,
Mouton, Nicholson, Pierce, Sevier, Smith, of
Connecticut, Sturgeon, Tappan, Walker, Williams,
Woodbury, Wright, Young?21.
h'T 11 " " "-TM~i
Til J
VOL. IV NO. 29 ]
Mr. CLAY then moved to strike out the stock boldera
from the amendment, thus leaving them the power
to act.
Mr. CALHOUN opposed the motion, on the ground
that one-third of the money was public property, and
that the power should not be given, under any circumstances,
to take away the public treasure.
Mr. BENTON said that the bank was the Treasury
of the Government, and, besides the ten millions
which the Government were to borrow to put into it,
there was the revenue also. The public money should
l>e separated from the private. The public funds
shoulu not be considered as the private property of
the directors or stockholders, and undei their duection.
Mr. WOODBURY said the prohibition to officers
of the bank would not reach the evil. The late bank
had made donations to hnse companies, to internal improvements,
and to police officers. Now, these were
Ave 'trKirth P,?nrt?aas not a finmnri? th?
"uJ?vl? "",v" w?.- ?rr-~i
Eubltc money, and yet the stockholders here would
sve the right to do it. Besides, if the Views of the
Senator from Mississippi did not prevail, the money of
the public might be liable to be voted away by foreign
stockholders. ,
Mr. CLAY could not sopposelhat the Senator from
New Hampshire had any deliberate purpose to misrepresent,
when he intimated that foreign stockholder
would exercise any influence over the funds of the
institution, lie put it to the candor of the Senator to
say whether it was fair to argue on possible contingencies
1 Did he not know that, by a solemn vote of the
Senate, foreign* were not only prohibited from voting,
but owning any stock. It was time to argue in
that way when the decision was reversed.
Mr. ALLEN argued that in no case should any donation
be taken from or charged to the stock deposited,
or other funds belonging to the Government, in the
hank or any of its branches, and he said he should
offer an amendment to that effect at the proper time.
Mr. HENDERSON could not see how a sheer act
of donation could be made; and argued at length
against it
Mr. WOODBURY said the Senator from Kentucky
had put it to his candor to say whether it was fair
to argue on possible contingencies. He (Mr. W.)
would put it to the candor of the Senator to answer if
he did not intend to reverse the decision of the Senate
if he could. He had argued from facts as they might
exist. [Here Mr. W. opened his drawer and took a
slip containing an extract of Mr. Clay's speech of
1811, from which he read to show that Mr. C. entertained
the same views, as expressed in his speech of
that date.]
Mr. CLAY thought the Senator seemed to entertain
a Iier.nlinr nredilection for the BDeech of 1811. He
wished the Senator had as much respect for another
speech of his, delivered in 1816. With respect to the
speech delivered in 1811, he would say, once for all,
for his friends, for his party, and posterity, that he had
voted against a Bank at that time on honest convictions.
But what was the difference between 1811
and 18161 At the latter period came the wnr debt,
with a ruined Treasury ; that war could not be carried
on without the aid of Banks; he had changed
his opinion in fuvor of a Bank, and there stood recorded
all his reasons for doing so, and he was willing to
be judged by the country and by posterity. When
the charter came up in the other blouse, he was in a
position where he need not have disclosed his opinions,
and if he had been cunning, he would not say discreet,
he might have concealed his opinions, as others
had done; but he preferred to open his bosom, lay bare
his heart, and give to his country and to his constituents
his reasons for the change his mind had undergone?a
change which had been in common with Madison,
with Governors Barbour and Pleasants, of Virginia,
and all the illustrious compatriots with whom it
had been his good fortune to act. Does the Senator
understand it nowl (said Mr. C.) Can he appreciate
it 1 Can he reach that standard, to be able to ad
mil that a change made in common with all the patriots
of the age could take place without any sinister motive
1 Let (he Senator from New Hampshire read the
speech of 1816 and answer it if he can, if he dare.
Mr. C. went on to explain at length the reasons which
actuated him.
Mr WOODBURY said it required ne eloquence
to let the world know that the Senator had changed?
that was apparent enough; but he must be permitted'
to say that he had rend both speeches of the Senator,
and gave a decided preference to that of 1811.
After some further remarks from Messrs. CALHOUN,
CLAY, of Alabama, and others, the question
was taken on striking out, and decided in the affirmative,
as follows:
YEAS?Messrs. Archer, Barrow, Bates, Bayard,
Berrien, Choate, Clay, of Ky., Clayton, Dixon,
Evans, Henderson, Huntington, Kerr, Mangum, Merr.ok,
Miller, Morehead, Phelps, Porter, Prentiss,
Preston, Rives, Simmons, Smith, of la., Southard,
Tnllmadge, White, Wood bridge?'28.
NAYS?Messrs. Allen, Benton, Calhoun, Clay, of
Ala., Cuihbert, Fulton, King, Linnr McRoberts,
Mouton, Nicholson, Pierce, Sevier, Smith, of Conn.,
Sturgeon, Tappan, Walker, Williams, Woodbury,
Wright, Young?21.
Mr. ALLEN then moved to amend the amendment
to the effect that no donation made by the bank or its
branches should be charged to the funds of the Government.
On this motion a short debate ensued, and on the
question being taken, the vote stood as follows:
YEAS?Messrs. Allen, Benton, Calhoun, Clay, of
Alabama, Cuthbert, Fulton, King, Linn, McRoberts,
Mouton, Nicholson, Pierce, Sevier, Smith, of Conn.,
Sluigeon, Tappan, Walker, Williams, Woodbury,
Wright, Young?41.
NAYS?Messrs, Archer, Barrow, Bates, Bayard,
Beirien, Choate, Clay, of Kentucky, Clayton, Dixon,
Evans, Henderson, Huntington, Kerr, Mangum,
Merrick, Miller, Morehead, Phelps, Porter, Prentiss,
Rives, Simmons, Smith, of Indiana, Southard, Tallmadge,
White, Woodbridge?27.
The question was then taken on the amendment of
Mr. Woodbury, as amended, and it was adopted.
[It provides, substantially, that no donations shall
be made to thp officers of the bank by the directors ]
Mr. WOODBURY then moved to itrike out from
the 4th line in the bill, in the 1st section, the words
"thirty millions." On this motion, Mr. W. addressed
the Senate at very considerable length.
M.\ CLAY rejoined. He had always been led to
believe that the Senator from New Hampshire was
a matter-of-fact man ; but now it appeared he had
some parts in him, for he was for creating a bank
without any capital at all.
Mr. WOODBURY replied that the Sub-treasury
had no capital, and yet the Senator from Kentucky
had always maintained that the Sub tieasury was a
Government bank.
Mr. ARCHER would give his vote against the
amendment, by which he did not mean to be understood
as excluding him from voting for any other
change of amount at another time.
The question was taken on the motion and decided
in the negative.
Mr. W RIGHT then moved to strike out that part
of the bill which admits of the addition of 20 millions
of capital.
Mr. W. sustained his motion chiefly on the ground
that the capital ought to be staid and fixed; that if
the stock rose some 5 or 10 per cent, above pai, a tush
would be made to increase the capital; while, on the
other hand, if stock fell, the managers of the bank
would be anxious to increase the capital by a new
alliance. j
Mr. CLAY replied at some length, insisting that if
the stock rose it would be an evidence of the prosperity j
of the establishment and the expediency of increasing
the capital.
The quest on was then taken on the adoption of ]
this amendment, and decided in the negative : i
YEAS?Messrs. Allen, Archer, Benton, Burha- '
nan, Calhoun, Clay, of Alabama, Outhbert, Fulton, '
King, Linn, Mouton, Nicholson, Pieice, Rives Sevier,
Smith, of Connecticut, Sturgeon, Walker, Wil- 1
Iiams, Wooidbury, Wiight, Young?'22.
NAYS?Messrs. Barrow, Bates, Bavard, Berrien, J
Choate, Clay, of Kentucky, Clayton, Dixon, Evans,
Henderson, Huntington, Kerr, Mangum, Miller, 1
Morehead, Phelps, Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Sim- 1
mons,Smith, of Indiana, Southaid, Tullmadge,White,
\A7 /??.! l.-i.i c\n I
?? ??wuuninjc?4U.
Mr. CLAY asked if the Senator* on the other side |
had any further amendment* to offer 1 i
Mr. W RIGHT aaid he had one oriwo more, and |
he presumed there were others of his friends that had (
some to offer. I
^ The Senate then proceeded to the consideration of 1
Lxecutive business, and after some time spent therein,
adjourned. I
Monday, July 19, 1841.
Mr. TALLMADQE presented a petition of citizen*
of New York, for a Bankrupt Law.
Mr. TALLMADOE presented a memorial from
citizens of Missouri, in favor of a General Bankrupt
Mr. T. said be had heretofore presented numerous
petitions on this subject, not only from his own State,
but from several other States in the Union. I have,
said he, purposely forborne to occupy the lime ot the
Senate with any remarks upon them. I came here to
work and not to talk. We all anticipated a working,
not a talking session. I am prepared to vote on all
questions which will be submitted for our consideration.
And 1 would not now break thiough the rule
prescribed to myself but for the attempt, in a certain
quarter, to make improper impressions on the public
uind in relation to what I deem one of the very greatest
measures of relief which can be adopted by Congress
at this extra session, namely, a General Bankrupt
A friend has called my attention to a recent article
in the Globe on this subject. I intended to call the
attention ot the Senate to it at an earlier day, but did
not wish to interfere with Senators who were occupying
the morning hour with another matter. The article
is as follows:
" The Bankrupt Law.?We perceive a great deal
of anxiety in different parts of tne Union about tti?
fate of the bankrupt law reported by Mr. Henderson,
in the Senate, and we can tell them something about
it. l^rlt is not in Mr. Clay's Drocramme. and that I
omission is a death warrant to it. Mr. Clay will not
let it pass now. It is good political capital, and was
supposed, at the last election, to have been worth 500,000
votes to the Federal party. The Bankiupt law
must then wait the approaching Presidential canvass
in order to give Mr. Clay the future benefit of it.?
The petitioners for the Bankrupt bill may, then,
go to sleep till it suits Mr. Clay's political views to pass
their bill. In the mean time, the bill must either include
or not include banks and trading corporations.
To include them is becoming more popular every day ;
and it is believed that the mass of the Democrats (perhaps
all of them if the State banks are left out) would
support a Bankrupt bill which should so include them;
on the contrary, the party will go against a bill which
does not include these institutions. If the friends of
the bill would join the Democrats and put in the banks,
the bill may be passed this session without the license1
of Mr. Clay, for a Bankrupt law to include banks
would immediately regulate the currency and supersede
the argument for a National Bank."
It is not ray purpose to attempt a vindication of the
honorable Senator from Kentucky (Mr. Clay) from
the unjust aspersions contained in this article. He
needs none at my hands. What I have to say is not
so much on his account, as on account of the subject
to whioh this attack relates.
I had hoped to find, at least, one subject for the legislation
of Congress, upon which the deliberative
wisdom of this body could pass, without reference to
the paltry considerations of party. And if there be
one matter, above all others, which ought to be exempt
from such a malign influence, it is that of a Bankrupt
law. From the first introduction of this measure, at
a former session, down to the present time, its friends
have endeavored to divest it altogether of a party character.
I appeal to all who were present at the former
discussions of this measure, whether such has not been
the course of its friends. With what painful regret,
then, do we see an article, like the one just read, from
a paper, recognised as the organ of a proud and powerful
party, attempting to bring this subject into the
arena of party politics, and to create, whether intentional
or not,the most erroneous impressions in regard to
to one of its devoted friends. The honorable Senator
from Kentuckv is represented as hostile to the passage
of a Bankrupt law at this session, because lie wishes
to keep the question open for "political capital" till the
next Presidential election. Was there ever a more
unjust aspersion upon the motives and charactei of'
one of the most distinguished and high-minded men
which this country nas ever produced 1 I do not
wish, nor intend, to indulge in harsh language on this
occasion ; but 1 leave it to be judged of by honorable
gentlemen of any and of all parties. To be kept as
political capital till the next Presidential election
Why, sir, what has been the uniform course of the
honorable Senator from Kentucky on this subject, who
is not at this moment in his seat 1 He has been its
open, zealous, devoted advocate, whenever it has been
presented. If, at the commencement of this session,
ne entertained doubts whether Congress would be
able to act upon it, with the other great measures which
were called for by the country, is it to be imputed to
him as a fault 1 Or, rather, is it to be charged upon
him as a premeditated design to defeat the measure 1
The gross injustice of such an imputation, or such a
charge, is apparent on its face. Other gentlemen,
friends of this measure, entertained the same doubts.
I was not one of that number. I have urged the importance
of it from the very first call of the extra session
down to the present time, as a measure more calculatid
to give immediate relief to the country than
any other. I have believed, and still believe, that it
can be better acted upon at this, than at the regular
session of Congress. And I believe the honorable Senator
from Kentucky, as well as other gentlemen, have
come to the same conclusion. It is with unfeigned regret,
therefore, that I see any attempt to impeach or
distort the motives of honorable gentlemen in relation
to their action on this great national question ; and
more especially the motives of the distinguished Senator
from Kentucky, when that patriotic State, through
her representatives here, has so gallantly and disinterestedly
come up to the relief of the unfortunate.
Her late representative on this floor, (Mr. Crittenden,)
the present Attorney General of the United
States, was one of the ablest and ii ost untiring advocates
of this measure. He was one of the Judiciary
Committee which reported the bill at a former session,
and maintained it with great ah.lily through every
stage of its progress. I am authorized to say .that his
successor (Mr. Morehead) will, in this matter, "follow
in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor."?
We have heretofore been told that Kentucky felt no
particular interest in the passage of this bill; but her
Senntlirs hnrp heliovp it inal In nlhor nnrlinno r\f I ho
-- ?? r""1"" "
Union, and did no' confine their views on a question
of great general interest to the narrow limits of their
own State. And on that broad disjnteresti d principle
they have acted. On the subject of relief to honest
unfortunate debtors, Kentucky is as true to the mark
as her own unerring rifle. Nu matter what change
takes place in her principles. It wa9 with profound
regret that we all saw our noble friend, the present
Attorney General, vacate his scat in this body?a body
which was adorned by his presence?and enter upon
the arduous duties of another station. But we are
consoled by the presence of his successor, (Mr. Morehead,)
who has the head and the heart to carry out
the principles for which his predecessor and colleague
have contended; and I might with entire justice say,
in regard to any change of representatives in this body
from that noble State?
" Like the waves of a summer, as one dies away,
" Another as pleasing and shining comes on."
But we are told, in the article just read from the
Globe, that a Bankrupt bill can pass at the present session
if banks shall be included. I wish to warn the
friends of this great measure against the fatal delusion
of thi; suggestion. In the first place, it has no necessary
connexion with the subject; and, in the next
place, the effort to include banks was made on a former
occasion and failed. And how did it faill In the
last Congress a majority of the Judiciary Committee
io the Senate was composed of the opponents of the
present Administration. They were the political
Iriends of Mr. Van Buren. They reported a Bankrupt
bill, with a provision to include the hanking institutions
of the country. That provision was fully
liscussed in the Senate Honorable Senators on the
other side took strong ground again&t it, and it was
finally stricken from the bill on their motion. I do
not speak of this result for the purpose of giving it a
parly character. But I speak of it for the purpose of
ihowinglhat it should be left upon its own merits, and
:hat no effort to put the public mind on a false scent
n regard to the banks should be countenanced by
hose who wish the success of the measure.
I am opposed to including the Banks in such a bill;
but 1 said on a former occasion 1 would take the bill,
with that provision, if a majority of the Senate saw
fit to include I hem. The provision, however, was
itricken out on the motion of the o|>|<onrnts of the
bill, and they then voted against the hill itself. I hope
lhat, on further reflection, and after the recent manifestation
of public sentiment, some of those gentlemen
will give it their support.
Mr. President, 1 do not intend on this occasion to
jo into a discussion of the question of including Banks
AY EVENING, JULY 17, 1841.
in a Bankrupt law. I have heretofore given my viewa
on that aubject, and may give them more at large
when the Bankrupt bill ehall be regularly before the
Senate. All I wish to say now ia, that in my judgment
no bill can become a law that includea them, and to
indicate to those who feel so deep an interest in this
question that their safety depends upon their standing
on their own merits, and not suffering themselves to be
borne down by the burden of corporations which is
attempted to be cast u|>on them.
Sir, in the article which I have read from the Globe,
w? are told that the Bankrupt law, at the last Presidential
election, was wtnth 500,000 votes to the Federal
party. I was not aware before that that party had
derived any particular support on that occasion from
the agitation of that question. Their leader was
known to be opposed to it, whilst the candidate of the
Democratic Republican party, to which I belong, was
known to be in favor of it. This statement, therefore,
r * * r . -ii - --- - "
juuging irom me unitorin accuracy and verily or thai
paper, must be an " error of the press." I have no
doubt that the Democratic Republican party, with
General Harrison at its head, did receive much support
from a knowledge of his views in favor of a
Bankrupt law. The views of General Harrison and
Mr. Van Buren on this subject were well known to
the whole country. They were together in the Senate
of the United States, in 1827, when a Bankrupt bill
was under discussion. General Harrison, on that occasion,
took strong ground in favor, and Mr. Van Buren
equally strong ground against it. Extracts from
their speeches were extensively circulated during the
last canvass, and it was well known their respective
friends in this Senate, with a few exceptions, when i
the Bankrupt bill was under discussion in 1839 and
1840, ranged themselves for and against it, according to
their political predilections. I have no doubt, thcie- i
fore, that the question exercised an important influence i
in the late Presidential election. But it did not ercrciso <
then su*h an influence as it will exercise at elections i
hereafter. The other questions involved, together with i
the reluctance to separate from old politicul associates, i
prevented many of the other side from supporting
Gen. Harrison, notwithstanding their anxiety for a
bankrupt law. The discipline of party, too, restiained
many from open and active exertion. That contest,
with all its severity, iB now passed. Since that eventful
period, men breathe deeper and freer. They
resolved to think and act for themselves. They will
no longer surrender their own rights at the dictation
of a party leader. They have determined that the injunctions
of the Constitution shall be obeyed?that a
power which is exercised by every civilized nation,
which was conferred upon Congress for the sake of
uniformity, shall no longer lie dormant. This determination
is confined to no particular party?it per
vades all parties. Every other consideration is secondary
to this great question of emancipation from legal
bondage. On this common, this neutral ground, men
of all parties have taken their position, and sworn to
stand shoulder to shoulder in all future contests, till
victory shall perch on their standard.
Sir, I will not detain the Senate by any further
remarks, except to say that I deem a Bankrupt law one
of the most important measures of relief to the countrv
which will come before Gonuress at theDiesent ses
sion. Ami, if no other Senator does it, 1 will move
that the Bankrupt bill, after the Bank bill now under
discussion has been disposed of, be next taken up for
Mr. WALKER had intended offering a resolution
to proceed to the consideration of a Bankrupt bill,
immediately after definitive action had been nad on
the Bank bill; and he was pleased to see that there
was a strong probability of aid from the other side of
the Senate. This was a measure infinitely more important
to his constituents than any measure now
pending before either House. There was nothing on
which the public mind was so decided as on including
Banks. He believed the time was near when
there would be a vast majority in both Houses of
Congress and throughout the country in favor of a
Bankrupt Law applicable to Banks. He should vote
for the bill, whether it was applicable to Banks or
not, and he believed it was demanded by the popular
voice, and at the present session.
Mr. LINN regretted very much that he could not
have had this morning to address the Senate on another
subject, but he might as well speak on this as
on any. He bad a petition on this subject which he
should present. Every mau whose heart was in
the right place would see that it was right to liberate
the debtor, upon giving up his property.
But it was different to make a law which should ac,k.,k
>k;~ 1 -1_ i . k_ I
vulu|>iivii hud bhu nui uu iuiJiiiieij mure iiarm vu uir
man of the community than benefit. He sympathized
' with those who were in distress; but called on to exercise
an important duty here, he was compelled to look
not only to the interests of his constituents, but to the
benefit of the whole country, and whether the operation
of the law would not be of more injury to the great
mass than of benefit to individuals. He would vote
for a prospective bankrupt law, but not for one that
did not embrace corporations.
Mr. MOREHEAD said, although the People of his
State had no peculiar interest in this subject, they
held it as a great national measure which would exert
a healing influence on the distress of the country,
and as more especially a component part of the great
system of reform with which the Whig party was
pledged to the Union. The course of his colleague,
(Mr. Clay,) and of his predecessor, (Mr. Crittenden,)
who had at last session reported and ably defended a
bill for this purpose, he genuinely concurred in, and
should support a bill of tnis character, when brought
before them.
The petition was then laid on the table; as also petitions
of the same character, presented by Messrs.
Mr. SMITH, of Indiana, from the Committee on
the Public Lands, reported the Pre-emption and Distribution
bill, from tne House, with two amendments;
which were ordered to be printed.
Mr. TAPPAN presented a memorial of citizens of
Ohio, containing a remonstrance against the charter
of a National Bank, the Distribution of the proceeds
of the Public Lands, a protective taritf and the assumption
of State debts. Which was laid on the table
and ordered to be printed.
The special order, the bill to incorporate the subscribers
to the Fiscal Bank of the United States, was
then taken up.
Mr. WRIGHT offered an amendment to strike out
that portion of the bill authorizing the subscription of
one-third of the stock by Government, and requiring it
all to be taken by individuals and corporations.
He sa<d in the discussion, he had not heard but three
reasons for making the Government interested in the
bank. The fiist was, that this will be a profitable fiscal
operation for the Government, and that the Treasury
will make money. While they knew that the
United States has no cash capital to invest, would it
be wise and expedient to involve the country in the
contract of a permanent debt for the sake of this speculation
1 The operation was decidedly bad in an individual,
and must be bad in Government as a mere
financial operation.
Another was, was it likely that this speculation
would be realized 1 He had not examined that document,
but had a statement from the Senator from
Pennsylvania, (Mr. Buchanan,) that the old bank di
tiucu live anu a quarter per cent., anu tuere were not
near as many banks throughout the country; and
what could they now persuade themselves would be
the per centage ? The probability was, that it would
be less. Was it wise and expedient in its financial
operational It seemed to him, on this ground, that it
was indefensible.
Another ground on which this provision might be
considered desirable to many citizens of the country,
was the presumption that an investment of one-third
was necessary as an inducement to private capitalists
to take the balance. This, he had no doubt, was
a good reason to private capitalists but was no in- i
ducement to the Government to create a Bank.
There was another reason, he knew not that it had
been urged, but it was the strongest and most powerful
with the friends of this bill, who were composed
of the business, trading portion of the community,
was to interest, more closely with this institution,
the Government so long as the control was placed in i
their hands. Was this a ground which Congress i
could urge for itself ?
Mr. CLAY said the Senator, in the first place, had i
totally omitted the high considerations which prompt- i
ed the establishment of this institution ; which were
to enable the Government to discharge its financial 1
dues throughout the country, and maintain a sound and <
uniform currency. The Senator said that under the
r\lsl RanLr - J tl-- - ? d ? - ? ? ? ? ?4
"nil* nc lUfCIYCU lite ill 1*1 ? If Utftl ll'l JWI CCIIl. 1
Be it ao. We saved a quarter per cent. then. But <
this was not all: on their closing with the old i
Bank thev got sixteen per cent, above par ; they al- i
so got a bonus of one and a half million dollars at ]
A N.
[WHOLE NO. 137.
the commencement of its charter. We would receive
this amount if we did no better than with the
old Bank. And were there not other considerations ?
Why how much did you pay for the transportation
of specie from oue part of the country to the other |
under the operations of the Sub-Treasury, imper- (
feet and limited in extent as it was ? He did not j
know ; it was a great deal, and they were exposed |
to great losses in its transportation. Whatever they \
paid in this manner, they avoided by a Bank, because (
it was its business to make remittances wherever ,
needed. But was this all ? Was there nothing to be <
credited to this institution for the security of your j
funds? What was the loss when the pet-bank system
was in operation ; One million dollars were an- i
nually returned, from year to year, under the adini- |
nistration of Crawford, and they were still in \
the Treasury, if the rotten dirty notes could be i
picked up. Would the Senator rise in the face of the |
country, and utter as the opinion which he enter- i
tained, that there was more security in the SubTreasury,
under the peculations of Isaac Hill, John |
Doe and Richard Roe, than in the hands of the t
Bank, conducted as this was intended ? i
Mr. W RIGHT expressed that as his opinion. j
Mr. CLAY hoped to be allowed to express the ineffable
surprise, which he felt at this avowal, and that
it was one ofihe great proofs of party vxcitement, with
all the experience of Bwarlwout, Price and other de- (
fauIters and peculators, who had run away with the j
public money, that could induce this 4wW??*tua.
And, during the existenoc of the bank, not one cent
was lost; he would express his ineffable surprise, at
the utterance of such a sentiment.
ir ine uariK was wnat its trtenda anticipated, tney
paid five per cent, interest with bonds, which bonds
by selling abioad, would add to the existing specie
means in the country, their amount of ten millions of
dollars, thus exhilirating, animating, extending and
simulating, to a proper extent, the business of the country
; you add ten millions instead of abstracting anything
from the exiating means. The profits from the
late bank weie two and one-third per cent., badly as
it was administered; and would not the Senator indulge
the expectation that the new bank will avoid
some of the errors of the old hank '? Would he suppose
that there was no such thing as human profit, by
human experience. Was that his idea 1 And espeaially
with all the guards with which they had surrounded
the institution, did the Senator suppose
that the corporation they were about to put inlo existence
would acquire no advantage over the old one'!
Suppose it did not; under the old bank ihey cleared
two and a third per cent, for the twenty years, over
and above what they made in the investment of stock
They received one and a quarter million dollars bonus,
and at the settlement sixteen percent, above par;
they avoided all losses by peculation or fraud connected
with the reception and disbursement of the public
money; and made hundreds, and thousands, if not
millions,of dollars by the uniformity of the medium in
which the dues to the Government were paid.
He was saying much more than he had intended.
The Senator was attacking this institution in every
variety of form, by open assault and by undermining
?he did not say insidiously ; but it seemed to him
that its effect was simply to protract this discussion,
whilst the country was crying out, in an agony of
distress, " give us aetion ;" " give us the measures
and the relief which was expected from this extra
uentiemen were at liberty to nave all the rights
which pertain to any momber of the majority; but
they had already been the third week engaged on
this bill, and should the House, if the bill ever reached
them, take up a time in proportion to the relative
amount of their numbers, tney would be totally unable,
not only to get away in the month of July, but
not till late in Autumn.
Mr. WRIGHT did not feel disposed to accuse
himself of having consumed a great deal of the time
of the Senate hitherto in this bill, and he did not intend
to consume any more time than was necessary,
and so much he hoped to be permitted, without very
great displeasure from any one. He believed the
sub-Treasury system infinitely more safe to the country
than any Bank that could be made. The honorable
Senator had referred to the Swartwouts; they
found necessary to make the same provisions against
them, as the Senator and his friends had now found
necessary?to make embezzlement felony, and punishable
by law criminally as felony.
The honorable Senator asked, with his usual force
and earnestness, if we would not give any thing to
experience. What had experience proved them? He
contended that there had been no improvement in the
wisdom, the soundness, or morality of their management.
Mr. CALHOUN could not but express his surprise
that the Senator from Kentucky should have accused
them with detaining this bill. The friends of the
bill had now consumed eight days with their amendments.
while this was the fourth dav whioh thev had
occupied, and the Senator now complained that they
were occupying an unreasonable time; The Senator
said, if we went on at that rate, we would be detained
here till autumn. It took from 1789 to 18JJ8 for
the old American system, the tarifT, the bank system,
to be fairly considered, and gentlemen now proposed
to strike the whole into a space of six or eight
weeks. Without consuming one particle of useless
time, it ought to require, instead of an extra session
of Congress, four or tive regular sessions.
The Senator said the country was in agony, crying
for " action," " action." He understood whence
that cry came?it came from the holders of State
stocks, the men who expected another expansion, to
relieve themselves at tne expense of Government.
"Action"?"action," meant nothing but "plunder,"
"plunder," "plunder," and he assured the gentle,
man, that he could not be more anxious in urging
on a system of plunder than he (Mr. Calhoun)
would be in opposing it. He so understood the Senator,
and he inquired of him, whether he called
this an insidious amendment ?
Mr. CLAY had not said that there was any motion
made for an insidious purpose.
Mr. CALHOUN understood it expressed in that
Mr. CLAY. Really it was so far from it, that the
Senator from New York (Mr. Wright,) in previous
debate had said, he was sure that tne Senator from
Kentucky (Mr. Clay) could not say that this was an
insidious amendment. It was but a reference to
Mr. CALHOUN. At the same time, it was rerepeated.
Mr. CLAY. Not by me.
Mr. CALHOUN. If the Senator means to saythat
he does not accuse this side of the House of
bringing forward propositions for the sake of delay,
he wished to understand him.
Mr. CLAY. I intended that.
Mr. CALHOUN said he had understood there was
somelhingjback of this: the gag-law was to be applied,as
it had been in the other part of the Capitol. He took his
ground: that hedid not wish delay,and was anxious the
debate should terminate tomorrow. He believed this bill
more destructive than any measure ever brought forward.
He intended to tnove in his own direction;
to take his time amply, and no more ; their course
should bo a direct and fair one ; they could not consent
to a system of measures more fatal to the country
than any ever brought forward. They intended to
discuss them fully, unless stopped by force.
Mr.CLAY had said nothing with respect to the motives
of the Senators, but that whatever their motives might
be, the tendency of their course was delay, and that
he repeated. He would states fact, that on Saturday
there were seven speeches made on one bill, by that
side, wi'hout one reply to thetn, and the Senator from
South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) made one.
Mr. CALHOUN. On what question was that'
Mr. CLAY. The Senator must resort to his memory
; I state the fact.
The friends of this measure were responsible for
it, and w ished to make it as perfect as they could ;
therefore their office was a very different one from
the opponents of the measure, who wished to render
it as odious as possible.
He recollected that during the war, Pickering and
some others denounced a loan which went to carry
on the war, and endeavored to dissuade capitalists
from embarking in this loan. What had now been
the course of gentlemen on the other side, whom he
regarded as modern Federalists ? To denounce this
Bank?to declare that this stock would never
be taken up, and to say that they would agitate the i
question of repeal till it was effected. This was i
precisely reiterating the course and the measures of
old times, by discussions addressed to the country, to |
defeat the operations of laws, that may be passed by i
a majority of the representatives ol the country ; i
and he must say, that he regarded this discussion ]
here as merely to protract debate, consume time, and
defeat the juat expectations of a waiting people.? I
Let tlie Senator go to the country, and he would find H
that all classes of the community would, of all ca- H
l&mities, complain lastly that there was too little H
speaking on either side. H
With regard to the intimation of the gentleman H
from South Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun,) he understood
him and his course perfectly well, and told him and
his friends that, for himself, he knew not how his
friends would act, he was ready at any moment to
bring forward and support a measure which should
give to the majority the control of the business of the
Senate of the United States. Let them denounce it
as much as they pleased in advance; unmoved by
any of their denunciations and threats, standing firm H
in the support of the interests which be believed the
country demands, for one, he was ready for the adoption
of a rule which would place the business of the
Senate under the control of a majority of the Senate.
Mr. CALHOUN. Bring on this question as quick
as you please, as you wish this session to last to Docember;
and further, we will not withhold one word
in consequence of this measure. The attempt of
he Senator (Mr. Clay) was vain, to say that he was
lot acting on the Federal side. Now, when all these
jreat measures, not excepting the Senator's great
American system, were under issue, he (Mr. Clay)
lid not think matter of any importsuice that they
ihould have the liberty of expressing their opinions.
He trusted gentlemen with whom he was acting
ivouId be deterred from no menace in that quarter,
jut would go on, and not be deterred from a single
word?that they would otfer every amendment they
bought important, and sustain it with words that they
bought necessary. He then briefly advocated the
Mr. LINN would take all the privileges that belonged
to hun as a member of the Senate. He then,
slier noticing " the remark of a celebrated Roman conml,"
referred to the transactions of the present Administration
pariy when in ascendancy in 1832, and
would track the steps of the " immaculate Whigs" in
blood. He mentioned the " outrageous means" that
had been .used at the charter election of New York H
city, in 1831, and pointed to their revolutionary spirit
Bitsippi, UlinoU, and Alabama.
There was nuihiug should deier him from performing
his duty, and standing up hete, and doing
what he ihuunhi wm necn??rv Nn luftv bearini/
or shaking of the mane would do it; and he would
tell the Senator from Kentucky that this waa a doublehanded
game, at which two could play.
Messrs. WALKER and ALLEN further advocated
the amendment. It waa then rejected, aa folIowa:
YEAS.?Messrs. Allen, Benton, Buchanan, Calhoun,
Clay, of Alabama, Cuthbert, Fulton, King, H
Linn, McKoberts, Mouton, Nicholson, Fierce, Sevier, H
Smith, of Connecticut, Sturgeon, Tappan, Walker, H
Williams, Woodbury, Wright, Young?22. H
NAYS.?Messrs. Archer, Barrow, Bates, Bayard, H
Berrien, Choate, Clay, of Ky., Clayton, Dixon, Evans, H
Henderson, Huntington, Kerr, Mangum, Merrick, H
Miller, Morehead, Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, H
Simmons, Smith, of Indiana, Southard, Tallmadge, H
White, Woodbridge.?27. H
Mr. WRIGHT offered an amendment to strike out H
the clause authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury H
to subscribe, in case it was not taken up, for one-third H
of the stock to be subscribed by individuals ; and that H
the corporation should do no business until the whole H
stock has been regularly subscribed for and paid, ac
cording to the provisions of the bill. H
Mr. Wright briefly advocated the amendment, H
showing the necessity that the bank be entirely dis
solved from connection with Government. H
Mr. CLAY, of Ky, opposed the amendment in a
spirited and able speech, snowing that contingencies H
might arise, in which the whole stock not being la- I
ken up, by individuals, it might be necessary for the I
Secretary of the Treasury to exercise this contin- I
gent power, which he did not believe, however, I
would be called into exercise ; and that it was in- H
tended only as a temporary investment?that the Se- H
cretary was expressly required to dispose of said I
stock when a par value could be obtained. He also I
spoke of the beneficial results to the trade of the I
country, which would flow from a contracted circu- I
lation of the Bank, (before the whole amount of its I
stock was subscribed,) thus the whole amount of I
specie in purchase of its stock not being entirely ^
shut up and excluded from circulation, as would I
otherwise be, perhaps for a year. I
He glanced at the opinions that had been express- I
ed by some Senators, of the constitutional right of I
Congress to repeal this law at any moment, and con- I
tended that, it being created for a specified term, I
could not, without violation of sacred contract en- I
tered into by Government with the stockholders, re- I
peal its charter. I
Mr. BUCHANAN replied, warmly contending I
that it was in the constitutional power of Congress to I
repeal the Bank charter at any time. I
Mr. CLAY rejoined, and? I
Mr. BUCHANAN replied in an interesting debate; I
and after a few remarks by Mr. WRIGHT, in tup- I
port of the amendment, it was rejected by the fol- I
lowing vote: I
YEAS?Messrs. Allen, Benton, Buchanan, Cal- I
houn. Clav. of Alabama. Cuthbert. Fulton. Kinr. I
I Linn, Mcftoberta, Mouton, Nicholson, Pierce, Se|
vier, Smith, of Connecticut, Sturgeon, Tappan,
Walker, Williams, Woodbury, Wright, Young?22.
NAYS-?Messrs. Archer, Barrow, Bates, Bayard,
Berrien, Choate, Clay, of Kentucky, Clayton, Dixon,
Evans, Henderson, Huntington, Kerr, Mangum, Merrick,
Miller, Morehead, Phelps, Porter, Prentiss,
Preston, Rives, Simmons, Smith of Indiana, Southard,
Tallmadge, White, Woodbridge?28.
Mr. CLAY, of Ala., offered the following amendment
: ,
But until the sale of the stock so subscribed by
the Secretary of the Treasury shall be made by him,
as aforesaid, the President shall appoint the additional
number of directors to which the said stock would
be entitled, if held by individuals.
This, after a brief debate, in which it was advocated
by Messrs. CLAY, of Alabama, and WALKER,
and opposed by Messrs. CLAY, of Kentucky, and
HUNTINGTON, was rejected ; as follows :
YEAS?Messrs. Allen, Benton, Calhoun, Clay,
of Alabama, Cuthbert, King, Linn, Mouton, Nicholson,
Pierce, Smith, of Conn., Sturgeon, Tappan,
Walker, Woodbury, Wright, Young?17.
NAYS?Messrs. Archer, Barrow, Bates, Bayard,
Berrien, Choate, Clay, of Ky., Clayton, Dixon,
Evans, Henderson, Huntington, Kerr, Mangum,
Merrick, Miller, Morehead, Phelps, Porter, Prentiss,
Preston, Simmons, Smith, of la., Southard, Tallmadge,
White, Woodbridge?27. '
Mr. WALKER offered an amendment, providing
for the annual election of four directors by Concress
; which he, however, subsequently withdrew
for the present, and which, at his request was ordered
to be printed.
Mr. CLAi, of Kentucky, offered a slight amendment,
making it obligatoryon the Secretary of tha
Treasury, to dispose of the stock which he may have
subscribed for under the contingency in the bill, as
soon as he can obtain not less than its par value ;
which was adopted without debate.
Mr. WRIGHT offered two amendments, previously
noticed and printed, being restrictions on the
Bank ; which were adopted without debate.
The Senate adjourned at one qnarter past three
Monday, July 19, 1841.
After the reading of the journal of Saturday, the
House resolved itself into Committee of the Whole
on the bill authorizing a loan of S'2,000,000. Mr.
Brigos in the chair.
Mr. JOHN W. JONES, of Virginia, addressed tho
Committee in opposition to the bill,?attacking in detail
the whole financial scheme of the present Administration,
and the statements and estimates of the Report
of the Secretary of the Treasury. He aimed
particularly to show the great failure of the new Administration
in carrying out the professions of economy
and reform made by the party before the fourth of
March. He denounced the Extra Session; denied
the Secretary's statements of the compilative expenditures
of previous years ; insisted that a large portion
of the expenses of Mr. Van Buren's Administration
were contracted for purposes permanently beneficial,
such as purchases of territory, removal of Indians,
erection of permanent public buildings, &c. He denied
the existence of the d<Jicit,ot Nation <1 Debt,
declared bv the S?crelary and the chairman of the j
Committee of Ways and Means. As to the item of
Treasury Notes requiring redemption in the course of
the year, there was no necessity of assembling Congress,
now, to provide for a demand so distant. Mr.
Jones was interrupted in his statements by the expiration
of " his hour."
Mr GARRET DAVIS took up the report of the
Secretary of the Treasury, and reviewed the items of
estimates ior me year, in order to snow mat tne exl>endituros
proposed were indispensable. Theae expenses
hail been, in a great measure, renderetl necessary
by the previous Administration. He referred to
ihe estimates of he late Secretary of War, (Mr. PoinH
'tt,) which the last Congress had failed to meet.?
These, with others, were now a burden upon the
present Administration. The estimates of revenue
icciuing during the year, made by the late Secretary
of the Treasury in his last report, were already
proved to exceed the reality. The suspension of upContinued
on the fourth page.
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