« AnteriorContinuar »
lowing out their methods of handling the currency of those countries and the assistance they gave to trade.
We came to the conclusion that it was the part of wisdom to profit by experience, and in studying those banks we realized that while they were a very great assistance to their countries, yet they were not applicable to the United States, for the reason that our territory is so much greater than that of any of the European countries. At the same time there were a great many features that were applicable, and these we have endeavored to embody in our conclusions.
We realized from the first that there would be objection to anything in the nature of a central bank, first, because it might be considered a political issue, one where politicians would have too much control over the finances.
Then there was also the question as to where the central bank should be located.
Then there was also the control of the stock of the bank which might be used by the larger institutions to the detriment of the smaller.
All of these matters they very carefully considered. Our various committees have had them under consideration and study, and numerous interviews and meetings have been held in the endeavor to arrive at some result, at least some clear idea that this convention will be in a position to adopt.
I think it a very happy omen that just before this convention meets Senator Aldrich, as Chairman of the Monetary Commission, has presented to Congress and to the nation his very admirable paper in regard to the change of our currency condition. I am very happy to state that our committees, although not aware of what was in Senator Aldrich's mind or in the minds of those acting with him, have practically come to the same conclusion, or at least to very many of them. We may differ in detail, we may differ in our manner of expression, but in the general views and general ideas I think we are fully in accord with Senator Aldrich.
I believe that what this convention wants to-day more than any other is to start a propaganda of education, one
that will reach all our people throughout the United States. I think in our large cities, particularly the cities of the East, there is no question as to what we want to do in regard to a new system of currency. But in our country districts, particularly in the extreme West and in the South, there is a feeling of antagonism to anything of this nature, a fear that it will be used, I may say, for the benefit of Wall street or other interests and not for the general public good.
I believe that this can easily be overcome if we take up the proper method of disseminating this plan of Senator Aldrich's and also the views of this convention. I think we should take proper action here to-day in the formation of a committee that will take up this proposition actively and push it, not go to sleep on duty, and then, in due course, we shall have very great results.
I know from personal observation and from frequent conversations with people representing many interests that the idea of a so-called central bank-it matters not whether you call it a Reserve Association or what not, so long as it is the same thing in substance-is growing, so that I think the time is now here when we should push ahead and make this idea continue to grow, not merely in the congested cities, but among the people at large; it is more needed in the small district than in the large.
While the report of the joint delegates from the New York Chamber of Commerce, the Merchants' Association and the Produce Exchange will be presented to you, I should like to take the liberty of reading briefly from the conclusions at which they arrived. I will not take up the whole report, but with a view of getting them clearly before you I would like to read something from the conclusions arrived at by the Joint Committee:
WHEREAS, This convention is convinced that it is practicable to create a central bank system for the United States, free from political or sectional control, by means of which these defects can be remedied; an instrument, not of monopoly, but for strengthening, and preserving the independence of the individual banks; an institution designed primarily for public service and not for profit; not to com
pete with existing banks, but to assist all of them to serve the business communities more efficiently; now therefore, be it
Resolved, That this convention unequivocally declares in favor of the creation for the United States of a central banking organization, based upon the following general principles:—
First. That such central organization be a corporation endowed with a large stock capital and not merely an association of banks.
Second. That its stock capital be owned by incorporated banking institutions, whether under National or State charter, willing to assume equal duties as a basis for equal privileges.
Third. That its administration be divided between the Government, the member-banks and the commercial classes, in a manner which will safeguard against individual, sectional or political domination.
Fourth. That its business be limited to transactions with the Government and with the incorporated banking institutions which become stockholders, i. e., member-banks, except as provided in paragraph nine, clause b.
Fifth. That dividends on its stock be limited to a fixed moderate return and profits in excess of such dividends, after providing for a reasonable surplus and emergency fund, be turned over to the Gov
Sixth. That its business be conducted through branches, to be established in the banking districts into which the country shall be divided, the member-banks of the several districts constituting joint associations, and sharing in the administration of the branches.
Seventh. That it shall, free of charge, receive and disburse all moneys of the United States Government in places where it shall have offices.
Eighth. That it shall not allow interest on deposits.
(a.) To issue circulating notes payable in gold, to be secured by gold and negotiable paper, and, if necessary, eventually to retire the present bond-secured bank notes, to a limited amount by Government bonds;
(b.)-For the regulation of its gold reserve to buy and sell bullion and to contract for loans of gold, and under proper restrictions to deal and invest in foreign bills of exchange;
(c.) To require the member-banks to keep with it a portion of their reserves prescribed by law.
(d.)-To rediscount, only for member-banks, commercial paper under regulations prescribing the limit of amount for each memberbank, the maximum time to run, and determining the degree of guar
antee to be provided by the joint associations of member-banks of each district;
(e.)-Under careful and proper restrictions to discount approved American bank acceptances;
(f.) To transfer funds standing to the credit of a member-bank, to the credit of any other member-bank at any of its branches.
(g.)-To buy and sell the bonds and treasury notes of the United States.
Tenth. That the central organization is ultimately to become the sole note-issuing power.
Now, gentlemen, those are the ideas that our joint delegation from New York have arrived at, and I think you will find that they run very closely in accord with the views of Senator Aldrich, and I believe they are the views coming to the front in the very near future. If we start out now with the idea that this matter is to be pushed to completion in the very near future-not quite now, perhaps, but possibly next year-I think we shall have a currency law that will not only be a credit to the United States, but will be a very great benefit to all our institutions. [Applause.]
The PRESIDING OFFICER.-Gentlemen, Mr. TRUESDELL, of the New York Produce Exchange, offers four resolutions for the appointment of a committee of seven to organize a business men's monetary reform league, etc. If there be no objection, these resolutions will be referred to the Committee on Resolutions already appointed. If, however, Mr. TRUESDELL prefers that they should come up for separate consideration before the convention, it is, of course, his privilege to so ask.
Mr. TRUESDELL.-I shall be very glad to have them go to the Committee on Resolutions.
The PRESIDING OFFICER.-Then they will take that course, sir.
It is now 12 o'clock and the convention, according to the programme, is to meet at 2 o'clock after the recess. I suppose you do not want to terminate the morning session before half-past 12. What is your pleasure as to that?
There are several gentlemen whom I am sure it would be a pleasure to hear. Do you desire now to continue the session?
Mr. TUCKER, of Philadelphia.-I move that we take a recess at 12.30, to meet again at 2 o'clock.
The motion was agreed to and it was so ordered. The PRESIDING OFFICER.-The Chair will now call upon Mr. JOHN S. ROSSELL, of Wilmington, Del. [Applause.]
Mr. JOHN S. ROSSELL, of Wilmington, Del.-Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, while I feel very much at home, at the same time I feel very much alone. So far as I know I am the only representative in this body of the trust company interests.
The PRESIDING OFFICER.-Excuse me, Mr. ROSSELL, but Mr. WARBURG, Chairman of the Committee on Resolutions, desires his committee to assemble now, so that, with your permission, the members of that committee will retire.
A DELEGATE.-If I may be permitted, Mr. Chairman, I should like to have the name of Mr. ROSSELL added to that committee, as he is the author of the Wilmington resolutions.
The PRESIDING OFFICER.-Inasmuch as the committee has already been appointed, the matter is now out of the hands of the Chair. But the Chair will submit the motion that Mr. ROSSELL be added to the Committee on Resolutions.
Mr. ROSSELL was, by unanimous consent, added to the Committee on Resolutions.
Mr. ROSSELL.-I thank you very much, gentlemen, and I feel still more at home now since you have so unhesitatingly conferred this additional honor upon me.
If there is present any other representative of the trust company interests, I should be very glad to meet him.
Any plan our National Congress may adopt for reform in our banking and currency system, I submit, must be adopted with due deference to the trust companies of this country. They are too numerous, too substantial and represent too large a constituency to be ignored.