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Bank of the United States.

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not pay. A large stream of revenue, then, here dammed up, and can no longer flow into the Treasury. Whatever inconveniences may result from it, you cannot press the collection without ruining thousands.

$27,000,000, from which is properly to be deducted $3,000,000, for individual deposites, leaving $24,000,000, a sum scarcely equal to the revenue annually paid to the Government, without difficulty or embarrassment. But the payment would be gradual. Issue a scire facias, I do not mean to censure the bank for this and, presuming that it would require two years state of things; but, when gentlemen take this to bring it to trial, the bank might thus draw in institution to their arms, and represent it as a its debts imperceptibly and without any greater garment covering our errors, and an angel minpressure than arises from an ordinary curtail-istering to our wants, I demand that they shall ment. This is one reason which operates on me retract their opinions. Will the country be in to prefer a scire facias to any other remedy. a better situation, should we be involved in anoBut, after the charter should be pronounced null ther war, than we were during the late war? and void, this House would not hesitate to ex- I think not. Each branch is forced to redeem its tend to it a protracted existence, to enable it to own notes. In this respect they are placed on wind up its affairs. The gentleman from South the footing of State banks. Our internal comCarolina thinks that it would press forth with for merce being cut off, the ordinary channels of payment. It would pursue its true interest, and intercourse being blocked up between the States, that would induce it to prefer the mode I sug- the current of trade will pour again from the gest, to the one he supposes would take place. South to the North, and a similar depreciation It would not hazard the loss of debt by an im- of the southern branch notes will take place. prudent haste in collecting it. In stating the We shall find ourselves surrounded by as great amount due to the bank, I have omitted the embarrassments then, as we have lately experiamount on pledged stock; on a final settlement, enced. I know the enlarged and comprehensive it would balance itself. views of my friend from South Carolina. He surely will not consent to legislate alone for the passing hour. He would not cherish and foster a system which can alone exist under the smile of peace, and would wither and perish under the frown of war. And yet, sir, I feel that the present system is one of that description.

Would it be a task of any great difficulty to substitute another system for this? I submit it to honorable gentlemen to say whether, in the event of Government's selecting a bank in each State, notoriously solvent, in lieu of the present, we should not be precisely situated as we now are? You take a bank in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Richmond, &c., known to be solvent, and bestow upon it the same countenance you bestow on the branches of this bank,

There remains then to be considered but one other point: How would the Government be affected by a dissolution of the charter? I protest against the idea, that the Government cannot get on without this bank. We are not dependent on this corporation. Wretched indeed would be our situation if such was the case. Sir, I have every confidence in the ability and talent of the Secretary of the Treasury to devise some scheme as a substitute for the present. We shall pay too much for the facilities which are afforded the Treasury by this institution. If my previous reasoning be correct, a reduction of dividend will take place. How then does the Government stand affected? It pays annually, on the $7,000000 which it subscribed, an interest of five per cent. amounting to $350,000. What will it re-limiting the reception of the revenue entirely to ceive? Estimating the dividend at two per cent. semi-annually, it receives but $280,000, and thereby it will lose $70,000 annually. Will not this be to pay too dearly for our whistle? Your old loan office system cost you not so much. But, sir, the gentleman from South Carolina tells us of the losses we sustained during the war, in the absence of this his favorite system. We did sustain losses, but what was the cause? They arose entirely from the indiscriminate reception of bank notes. If the Treasury had discriminated properly among the banks, refusing to receive the notes of any but such as were known to be solvent, the loss would not have been felt. But, even under the reprehensible procedure which then existed, we are told that the Government only sustained a loss of $500,000. Are we blind to inconveniences of the present system? What is the fact in regard to the West? Sir, the Western people owe you many millions for the purchases of your public lands, and are unable to pay you. It is the very quarter, too, from which you expect to be able to extinguish the public debt. Those people can

their notes, or specie, and giving them the public deposites. Will gentlemen assign any good reasons for supposing that the notes of such banks would not circulate as currently and uniformly as those of this institution? The note of the Richmond bank, for example, being received every where in payment of Government dues, would be as readily caught up by the merchant as a note of this bank, payable alone at Richmond. When you estimate the amount of specie in the vaults of such State banks as I have alluded to, it will be found greatly to exceed the amount in the vaults of this bank and its branches. There is no difficulty in devising a substitute; and, I repeat, that if the gentleman from South Carolina had united with me in devising a perfect scheme, the country would have had cause to have thanked him for his exertions. Nor is there any necessity for alarm for the safety of Government deposites. The State banks, thus selected, would most readily consent to exhibit to the Secretary of the Treasury monthly and quarterly accounts of their actual condition. T'here existed no difficulty on that head when the

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old charter expired. Thus then the Government would render as secure its funds under such a system as under the present.

Mr. Chairman, all the reasons now urged were urged in favor of a renewal of a charter of the old bank, and yet they did not prevail. The members of the then Congress went fearlessly and boldly to work. Difficulties did not appal them; fears did not unnerve them. Shall we be less resolute ? Sir, when this bank was created, the then Secretary of the Treasury represented it as an indispensable measure to support our credit. He represented the purses of our citizens to have been emptied by the excessive loans they had made to the Government. He could go no further: a loan was contemplated to be obtained from this bank. I confess I regard it with fear and trembling in this respect. It would be an act of political suicide to borrow a large sum from this bank; and yet, fancy yourselves surrounded with difficulties and embarrassments similar to those we have lately escaped from-the expedient of the moment would be resorted to; a large issue of paper would thus take place, and an irredeemable character be stamped upon it. Then, indeed, might we bid adieu to all our happiness and all our wealth. Public confidence would wither like the blighted plantain; that noble spirit of enterprise, which has characterized our citizens, would perish and decay; the merchant would bid adieu to his counting house; the farmer would sigh over the waste of his fields. Why should the one encounter the storm of the deep, or the other witness the sweat of his brow, when, for their hardships and labor, they would be paid in a worthless currency, of no intrinsic value in itself, and constantly undergoing a depreciation in value? I entreat gentlemen to arrest the evil now that they can. Sir, I was astonished at the argument of the honorable gentleman from South Carolina. He contended that the great object of the charter had been answered; that every facility had been afforded to the operations of the Treasury, and, therefore, that no forfeiture had ensued. What is this but to say to the bank, take care only to be the glove to the hand of the Treasury; obey its wishes; facilitate its schemes and operations, and do whatever else you please-you shall not be arrested; swindle, and cheat, and deceive the unthinking people of this country, without mercy and without end; only take care to secure the smiles of the Treasury, and all shall be smooth and well? Is it not actually granting to the bank a patent to offend? It is only necessary that it should apply at the Patent Office, and receive its license under the sign-manual of Doctor Thornton. I cannot listen to such a position. I call upon the warmest advocates of this system, although I am satisfied that that call is in vain, to unite with me in this measure. You have been disappointed in your wishes, in your expectations. Instead of a system abounding in blessings, it has been converted into an instrument of corruption. Cold unfeeling speculation has usurped the place of honest dealing. Are we not


too young to encourage such a state of things? Our Republic can only be preserved by a strict adherence to virtue. It is our duty, if we consult our eternal good, to put down this first instance of detected corruption, and thereby to preserve ourselves from its contamination. The bank is already interwoven with the affections of many; its influence will become every day more and more extensive, and, if we suffer this opportunity to escape, we may sigh over our unhappy condition, but that will be the only privilege which will be left us. Let my fate be what it may, I have discharged my duty, and I am regardless of the consequences.

MONDAY, February 22.

Mr. RICH, from the Committee of Claims, to which was referred bills from the Senate of the following titles, to wit: "An act for the relief of Michael Hogan," and "An act for the relief of Pierre Dennis de la Ronde;" reported the said bills with an amendment to each; when it was ordered that the said bills be committed to the same Committee of the Whole to-morrow.

Mr. POINDEXTER, from the joint committee appointed to inquire and report what business it will be necessary to act upon during the present session, made a report; which was read, and ordered to lie on the table.

On motion of Mr. WHITMAN,

Resolved, That the judges of the courts of the several districts of the United States be requested to prepare and transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as early as may be, at the next session of Congress, a schedule of fees of office, proper to be allowed and taxed for the officers of their courts respectively; and that the Clerk of this House cause each of said judges to be furnished with a copy of this resolution.

The bill supplementary to the act for the relief of Benjamin Wells was taken up and ordered to a third reading.

The bill from the Senate supplementary to the several acts concerning the coasting trade was read the third time, as amended, and passed.

The engrossed bill in addition to the act supplementary to the act for the relief of Thomas Wilson; and the engrossed resolution prescribing the mode of naming the vessels of the United States, were severally read the third time, and passed.

The engrossed bill for the relief of the heirs of William Reed, was read the third time, and, on the question of its passage, was rejected.

On motion of Mr. LOWNDES,

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be instructed to inform this House whether any, and, if any, what part of the balances transferred from the State banks to the Bank of the United States, under the second article of the compact between them, for which balances the Bank of the United States was to receive interest, were retained by the Bank of the United States as special deposites, for which it was not obliged to pay specie upon demand.


On motion of Mr. PINDALL,

Bank of the United States.

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be instructed to inform this House whether any, and, if any, what part of the balances transferred from the Treasury to the United States Bank, under the second proposition of its agreement with the receiving banks, of the 31st January, 1817, were drawn from the Bank of the United States by any department of Government, between the 31st January and 1st of July, 1817, exclusive of the sums required by the Treasury, under the exception contained in the second proposition.


Mr. TERRY, from the committee to which was referred the petition of the Connecticut Asylum, for the education and instruction of deaf and dumb persons, made a report, which was read; when Mr. T. reported a bill in behalf of the Connecticut Asylum for teaching the deaf and dumb; which was twice read, and ordered to lie on the table. The report is as follows:

That an association of a number of citizens of the State of Connecticut was formed in the year 1815, for the purpose of establishing a school for the instruction of the deaf and dumb. Finding great numbers of this unfortunate description of persons in our country without education, and without any attempts being made to give them the education which they are capable of receiving, and actuated by a benevolent desire to rescue them, as far as was practicable, from their state of ignorance and degradation, and to fit them for social intercourse and happiness, the associates, by voluntary contribution, raised a sum of money sufficient to defray the expense of sending the reverend Thomas H. Gallaudet to Europe, for the purpose of learning the modes of instruction practised there. Mr. Gallaudet went to England, to Scotland, and to France. In London, he did not find a disposition in the teachers to communicate instruction so readily as the bepect; but he had the good fortune to meet there the Abbe Sicard, the principal of the institution for the instruction of the deaf and dumb at Paris, a gentleman distinguished for talents, benevolence, and devotion to the interests of these unfortunate persons. The Abbe assured him that, if he would go to Paris, every facility should be afforded him of acquiring a knowledge of their modes of instruction; which assurances he found fully realized upon going there. The Abbe kindly took him into the school, and explained to him everything relating to their modes of instruction and management; but Mr. Gallaudet found that the time which his arrangements would permit him to spend in Paris would be much too short to enable him to acquire the knowledge necessary for an accomplished instructor; and having become acquainted with Laurent Clerc, a pupil of the Abbe, and for eight years an assistant instructor, he engaged him to come to this country as an instructor in the school about to be established in Connecticut. They arrived here in August, 1816, and Mr. Clerc is still an assistant to Mr. Gallaudet in the Connecticut Asylum. The Legislature of Connecticut, in May, 1816, incorporated the said associates by their aforesaid name. There are at present in the school more than fifty pupils, from the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania,

nevolence of his mission seemed to entitle him to ex

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Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky, who are taught by five instructors, and who pay $200 per annum, each, for tuition, board, washing, and lodging. The institution is open for the reception of pupils from every part of the Union; but its funds (which have arisen almost entirely from voluntary contribution) are too small to admit of its becoming extensively useful; they are not sufficient even to erect the buildings necessary for the accommodation of the present number of pupils.

Considering that this institution is calculated not only to afford instruction to the deaf and dumb, who are to be found in all parts of our country, but also to qualify teachers for other schools which may be established in other parts of the Union, and considering that it is the first attempt of the kind in the United States, and that it has been raised to its present condition by the care and at the expense of charitable individuals, most of whom had no particular interest in its success, the committee are of opinion that it is worthy of the patronage of Congress, and that the prayer of the petition ought to be granted; and for that purpose they report a bill.


The House again went into a Committee of the Whole, (Mr. BASSETT in the chair,) on the subject of the Bank of the United States-Mr. JOHNSON's motion to repeal the charter still under consideration.

Mr. TYLER Concluded the argument which he commenced on Saturday in favor of the motion, and in reply to Mr. LOWNDES, occupying nearly two hours to-day-as given entire in preceding pages.

Mr. McLANE of Delaware, said that the late period of the session, the mass of important business yet remaining to be transacted, and the impatience manifested by the Committee in the such magnitude, admonished him of the impropricourse of this debate, though upon a subject of ety of tasking their attention for any great length of time. He would not have participated in the debate at all, if he had not had the honor to be a member of the committee whose investigation and report had given rise to the present discussion, and if it had not been his lot to differ in opinion with a majority of his colleagues on many of the most important matters in the report. On this account, he believed it a duty he owed to himself and to the House, to state the views he entertained, and the reasons upon which his opinion had been formed.

The able and detailed remarks of the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. LOWNDES) would save him much trouble, and justify him in abridg ing the observations which he otherwise should have felt it his duty to make.

Mr. McLANE said, he entirely concurred in most of the views and opinions which had been expressed by the gentleman from South Carolina, unless, indeed, he was to be understood as denying the existence of any abuses whatsoever, in the conduct of any of those to whom the management of the Bank of the United States had been confided. [Mr. LOWNDES here stated that it was certainly not his intention to make

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any such denial.] Mr. McL. said, he was sure it at all, excepting the mere arbitrary exercise of could not be denied that many abuses had been power. The charter, however, had relieved us committed by some of the individual directors, from these embarrassments, by prescribing a remthough, perhaps, in many instances, in their un-edy whenever a forfeiture should be incurred, the official character. He said, he had entered upon only event in which, as he should contend, Conthe arduous and responsible duties assigned to gress could interfere. Another honorable genhim, with no unfavorable impressions towards tleman who followed the mover. in support of the institution; and though he had heard numer- the proposition to repeal (Mr. PINDALL, from ous charges made against it, from various quarters, Virginia) insists, that the common law is operathey had been unaccompanied by such proof as tive in the United States, and contends for the would be calculated to make a serious impres- right to repeal, in virtue of the power exercised sion. In patiently investigating the circumstances by Parliament, and the visitatorial power, which under which the institution commenced its opera- he says is, in this instance, in Congress, as the tions, and continued its progress, and in tracing founder of the incorporation. If the gentleman its management, and the transactions of its offi- were right, in supposing the visitatorial power to cers he had seen much to admire-something be in Congress, and susceptible of use as extentoo to condemn, and in the conduct of some of sive as in England, it would not support his posithe directors and other officers, something to re- tion. For, said Mr. McL., the visitatorial power probate. But he had nowhere discovered abuses is not a destroying, but a correcting, remedial of so enormous a character as to be remediless power. The visitor has no power to destroy the by milder correctives than total extinction of the being of a corporation. His office and authority incorporation-a measure carrying in its train are founded, in the language of the best writers, the most disastrous consequences to all parts of "upon the supposition that corporations, being the community. He would not now detain the composed of individuals subject to human frailCommittee in a particular consideration of the ties, are liable, as well as private persons, to dedifferent acts which in his opinion were or were viate from the end of their institution; and for not abuses; or of the degree of censure which that reason, the law provides proper persons to they merited. He did not consider himself here visit, inquire into, and correct all irregularities as the accuser or defender of the bank and its of-that arise in such corporations." Although in ficers; but, as a Representative of the American people, called to decide upon the propriety of certain important measures, intimately connected with their interests and prosperity. Of these, he should not be unmindful, because of the mismanagement in the Bank of the United States, and so far as he deemed it material, to adjust the decision upon these measures, to express his opinion in regard to the condition of the bank and the conduct of its officers, he should take occasion to do so in the course of the observations he should have the honor to make.

Mr. McL. said there were three propositions before the Committee. The first proposes to pass a law repealing the charter heretofore granted, incorporating the bank; the second, to direct a scire facias to compel a forfeiture of the charter; and the third, to direct a scire facias to be hereafter waived, if the corporation will consent to certain modifications of their charter. He said he was opposed to all of them.

He denied the Constitutional power of Congress to pass a law repealing or dissolving the charter, and he said the arguments of its advocates proceeded upon mistaken principles, even in regard to the common law, whence some of them had drawn their deductions.

The honorable mover of this proposition (Mr. JOHNSON of Virginia) contends, that the law granting the charter is wholly unconstitutional, that common and civil law are both inoperative in the United States, and therefore, that, as we cannot resort to the remedies afforded by either of these, we have nothing left but to repeal the charter by an act of Congress. But, Mr. McL. said, if the honorable gentleman were correct in his premises, he would be left without any law

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England, this visitatorial power has a very extensive operation, I never heard of an instance, I believe none can be furnished, in which it attempted to dissolve the corporation. Nor is the power necessarily in the founder; it may be in any other person designated by the charter, and though in England the King is considered as the general founder, and the visitor, if no other be named, he never exercises his power in his own person, but always in his courts of justice; before whom the corporations are brought by proper process; are heard in their defence, and the abuses or irregularities, if any are found to exist, are corrected. The King himself cannot dissolve a corporation of which he was the founder, and which he may have created by letters patent; it can only be done by the interference of Parliament; than which, a more conclusive argument could not be afforded, that the visitatorial office does not possess the power of dissolution. It is unnecessary, at present, to institute any inquiry into the nature of this power, in this country, or in what department of the Government it may be vested, since, wherever it may be vested, it would give no authority to repeal the charter. The powers of Congress are clearly defined in the charter; the means of enforcing a forfeiture are distinctly provided; and the control of the Secretary of the Treasury over the public deposites is sufficient for ordinary cases. It may well be questioned, however, whether any greater power than this exists in any department of the Government.

But gentlemen say, that one Legislature has the same power that another had, and that therefore we may repeal any law that a preceding Congress passed. This principle cannot be con


Bank of the United States.

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human rights." We cannot therefore repeal this charter, nor can we claim to be released from the performance of our stipulations in good faith, unless the condition upon which the grant was made, and the individual rights vested, have been broken. But this can only be ascertained by due process of law. If we allege that it has been broken, we are bound to prove it; we must resort to the Judiciary; we must afford the party whose interests and property are to be taken away, an opportunity of being heard. The Bank of the United States has not yet been heard. The proceedings, so far, have been ex parte. He did not mean to say that the investigation had not been conducted impartially, and with good faith. He was sure it had been so conducted, but still it was ex parte. The report of the committee is, at most, but the finding of a grand jury; it concludes nothing. To pass a law repealing the charter, therefore, would not only be an assumption of judicial powers, which do not belong to us, but it would be deciding in our own cause, in our own favor, and without hearing the opposite party.

troverted, as it respects general legislation, affecting public rights and general police; but if an act be done under any law, a succeeding Legislature cannot undo it. Where a law is in its nature a contract, as all grants are, and absolute rights have vested under the contract, a repeal of the law cannot divest those rights. This is the nature of the law in question. Congress, in giving this charter creating the corporation, granted to the individuals who should become members of it, certain privileges and franchises, and stipulated, upon the faith of the Government, that they should enjoy it for a definite period; it granted them the right of becoming a corporation and carrying on the business of banking, or owning property in the stock of the institution, and of exercising all the privileges of ownership for the same period of time. Under this grant, these rights have become vested interests, as much so as a right to take toll for twenty years, or a right to a fee simple interest in land, where, by an act of Congress, the title has been granted to an individual. As such they are considered in all countries, under our own laws, and by the decisions of our own courts. They are But gentlemen say that the law incorporating so treated in England; though there a charter the bank was unconstitutional, and that therefore may be dissolved by an act of Parliament, be- we are not bound by it, and may of course recause of the attribute of omnipotence with which peal it. Mr. McL. said that, although he enterit is invested, and by which it rides over public tained no doubt that the law was Constitutional, and private rights with the same supremacy. and that it could easily be demonstrated to be so, Happily for our country, no branch of our Gov- he should not discuss that question, since he ernment is clothed with this attribute. Here, insisted that we now had no right to discuss the every department of our Government is control- validity of the charter. He held it to be an led by precisely defined principles impressed upon essential principle of our Government, that any their first institution. In England the legisla- law once passed by the regular authorities was ture makes and controls the Constitution. Here, to be taken to be Constitutional, until the judithe Constitution limits and controls the legisla- cial tribunals should decide otherwise. The ture. Here the legislative power can make no safety of our institutions, and the faith of indi"ex post facto law, or law impairing the obliga-vidual transactions, depended upon this principle. tion of contracts," and "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The provision applies equally to contracts in which the public are the party, and where individuals only are concerned. If possible, it applies with greater force, since the public faith ought, at all times, to be sacred and inviolable. In the formation of our Government, its different powers are apportioned among the respective branches, each acting in its appropriate sphere: the legislature makes the law, or authorizes the grant; the judiciary expounds them, and hears and decides all matters of litigation, and the executive superintends their execution. If individuals in the community have conflicting elaims, arising under the laws of the United States, either in contract or otherwise, the judiciary is the tribunal to which their rights are referred.

The public authorities, as it regards their contracts, cannot claim, nor should they desire to claim, any other exemption. The Legislature should carefully abstain from the exercise of mere arbitrary power. As they value the stability of our institutions, they "must in all cases submit their pretensions to those tribunals established for the security of property, and to decide |

The Congress of the United States is a party to the grant of this charter-to the contract under which private rights have become vested-and for a party to decide his own deed to be invalid, whatever cause may be assigned for its invalidity, would manifestly be an act of bad faith; it would be a mere act of power, without the shadow of right. The Congress who granted the charter would have had no right to say so, and it will not be pretended that we have greater powers than they had.

But, Mr. Chairman, said Mr. McL., this repealing law, if passed, would be nugatory, and of no effect. Gentlemen have not yet claimed for Congress that omnipotence which would authorize us to revoke our own grants, and annul our own contracts, as a mere matter of power and caprice. They have admitted that either the original law must be unconstitutional, or a breach of the condition on which it was granted must be committed, before Congress can interfere. Now, if the charter were unconstitutional, it would be absolutely null and void without the repealing law: the repealing law could not make it more so. It could only add one more question to the matters in dispute, and it would immediately be contended (and he thought with much

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