Imágenes de páginas

is not without a foundation in fact, possible for them to frame and mainthough the Whigs both misunderstand tain any conceivable administration, in and misname it. It grows simply out of consistency with itself and harmony the fact that the one party does possess with its party. This can only happen a certain set of definite and distinct occasionally and at distant intervals; general principles, and the other does it cannot continue beyond a single term not. The difference is that between a of administration; and after effecting fleet of vessels united for a common the good for which it was designed, in voyage and provided each with a com- the order of Providence, as a lesson to pass, and one deprived of that means of the proper dominant party, a moderatsafe and independent self-direction, in ing check on their natural tendency to the forward way along which all are over-action, and a re-purification from bound, and compelled to watch only the the corruptions and abuses of prolonged signals and flags of uncertain leaders. political power, the anti-democratic We do sail together much better in party must naturally and necessarily resquadron than the Whigs—because we cede back into its accustomed and proall collectively and individually know per place, of minority and opposition. whither we are going, and why; and We speak here of the characters and because we steer by a steady guide tendencies of principles. We know common to all while distinct for each; indeed that among a considerable porwhile our leaders are fain compelled tion of the Whig party themselves, to keep true to the same general tack, there is as much of the democratic under the necessary penalty of ceasing sentiment and spirit as among any porto be either our leaders, or of us at tion of our own. Vast numbers whose all. The nomination of such candi- more natural position would be on our dates as Harrison and Tyler-(we side, are misled by the confusion in mean candidates occupying similar re- which some of the principal issues belative political attitudes towards their tween the parties are kept by the clame party and the public)-never could ors and misrepresentations of an active have happened to us, nor could we press; others by those protestations therefore have been plunged into a of a democratic character which have similar confusion by the death of any been so freely plied, notwithstanding individual. No man could be nomi. the unconcealed disgust and contempt nated in our party, no man would be of other portions, as expressed in the voted for by it, whose opinions were intercourse of private life; others by not so thoroughly known, and his cha- difference of opinion on one point or racter proved, as to assure a perfect another of practical policy from that harmony between us and him in the of the controlling majority of our party. administration of the government. We speak of the general tone and ten

To carry the question a step farther dency of their principles, and that is back, to a higher general principle, or essentially anti-democratic. For they rather to a more general statement of are the party that never fails to advothe law of which the present state of cate strong and splendid governmentthings in the Whig camp is the result to favor all latitudinarian constructions

-no party can govern a free republic of the Constitution-to oppose all new whose character is not in harmony projects of reform in the direction of with the genius of the people and their popular liberty and the extension of fundamental institutions. That genius power of the numerical masses--and to is democratic, and the Democratic par- discountenance the adoption of univerty can alone govern this country. The sal suffrage in other communities, even natural and proper attitude for the when compelled to a silent acquiesWhig party to occupy is that of oppo- cence and submission to it at home. sition-a vigilant and severe opposition for their leaders, we have not the to check the tendency of power to same respect, nor the same confidence abuse and misuse. A combination of in their honesty of intention and prinaccidental circumstances can alone ever ciple, that we cheerfully accord to the bring them into power-transferring great body of their followers. In a them from the negative to the positive democratic country, the leader of a pole, in the electrical equilibrium- party essentially anti-democratic in and then it can only be by such very character cannot, as a general rule, be means as must necessarily make it im- honest politicians-excepting, of course, the small number of prouder and braver to guard against a violation of the faith spirits, who, sincerely imbued with of the Compromise act--and then see anti-popular principles, have the cou- the insertion of a clause in a subserage and the truth to avow and main- quent bill repealing that proviso, in tain them in defiance of their unpopu- disregard of all the indignant outlarity. They must perpetually dis- cries against the bad faith of the semble, pretend, conceal, intrigue- transaction, raised by those who, most they must have recourse to the vile deservedly, were made its dupes. trickeries of demagoguism—they must See those repeated instances of vacillacheat the people, indirectly if not di- tion in action on the most important rectly, to gain their support, even measures, which proves it in neither though they console their consciences case to be prompted by any higher with the belief that it is for their own motive than shifting calculations of a best good; and they must always and petty expediency,--as, for instance, on everywhere address themselves as the Apportionment Bill in the Senate, eagerly as possible to all great special when a strict caucus-trained party interests, and accumulations of wealth vote reverses one day a proposition unand power; such as banks, manufac- deniably reasonable and right which turing interests, corporations, &c.,&c.- had been adopted on the day before by 10 gain their favor and support, by a large majority. And again, in the those concessions, to their special ad- other House, in its action on the Senate vantage, which can only be made at amendments to the same Bill, -after the corresponding injury to the rights elaborate discussion they had been and interests of the people at large. rejected, by decisive votes, accompa

And look at the spectacle of all their nied by every indication of a very de shuffling, shifting, shambling, and termined spirit; when suddenly, behold, shameful maneuvring now at Wash- one fine morning after an evening ington! See one cabinet minister caucus, the House, with beautiful presticking to his place, for the manifest cision of drill, wheels short round, sole sake of the place, after a full par- abandons its position and all the arguticipation in transactions which com- ments by which it had been sustained, pelled the withdrawal of the rest of his and without even a committee of concolleagues--though on which side rested ference, or any attempt at compromise, the imputation of bad faith in those gives in a submissive adhesion to the transactions, may well be a question. dictation of the party leaders of the See another, within a few days after other branch! See, too, in the one penning with his own hand a violent body the purely factious rejection of political and personal denunciation of nominations of the most unexceptionthe President, coolly and quietly walk able personal character-in one marked over to take a seat at his very council- case even after the same individual had board; thus proving an admirable fitness been but a short time before confirmed for the place, so farat least as regards his without objection for an office of a knowledge of one of the mancuvres of higher value and responsibility ;-and military tactics, the “right about face!" in the other body, the adoption of leSee, in the composition of a cabinet, gislation for the undisguised object of the harmonious fraternization of nulli- «heading" the President, and of coer. fication with federalism, the ultra-lati- cing his assent to an obnoxious principle tudinarianism of a Webster with the by coupling it as a proviso with an inultra strictness of construction of an dispensable Revenue Bill for the very Upton. See all the intriguing chica- continuance of the government. Who nery of legislation, the unblushing bar- can behold such a spectacle as is thus gaining and selling of mutual votes, the daily exhibited to the world by the pretrain-band discipline of caucussing, the sent dominant majority in both branches undisguised subordination of patriotic of Congress, without a blush of shame duty and right to personal animosities, and a sigh of sorrow,—and an earnest jealousies, and ambitions, in a degree prayer that Time would speed the which has never before disgraced the slow wheels of his car, and expedite action of any Congress. See a Bankrupt the welcome hour which shall soon act bought by a Land Fund Distribu- witness the country's riddance from tion act. See a Land Bill secured by the ascendency of the Whig Régime the concession of an essential proviso at Washington!



In the spring of 1837, owing to a from bankruptcy. Just at this junccomplication of causes that have fre- ture, therefore, Mr. Biddle, with comquently been discussed, the banking mendable foresight, resigned the presystem of the States reached its culmi- sidency of the bank. This was in nation and exploded, prostrating in March, 1839. His letter of resignation bankruptcy every institution of the stated that the bank was in "a sound country. In the short space of one and prosperous condition." This stateyear the banks of New England and ment was endorsed by the directors, New York returned to specie pay- who voted him a service of plate, vaments, and have since firmly main- lued at $25,000, equal to one ton of tained their position. In all other sec- pure silver, as a compliment for his tions of the country, west, south, and services. On the 11th of October, 1839, south-west, a false system has been five months after this occurrence, the pursued, and for five years an unremit- bank failed, and was followed in susting struggle has been kept up be- pension by all the banks of the south tween the bank debtors on one hand, and west. The delusion was still kept and their creditors on the other. The up that the institution was suspended, banks themselves have supposed it for not broken, and an irredeemable their interest to side with the former, paper currency was continued fourteen and have refused to pay their own months longer, until January, 1841, debts, under the plea that they could when public opinion again enforced not do so without oppressing their resumption, which became general. debtors. At times, however, public Practical men had, however, no confiopinion has expressed itself so fcrcibly dence in it. The United States Bank in favor of a sound currency, that the was felt to be insolvent; accordingly banks have been compelled to attempt that monster, raised upon its legs by specie payments. On the 1st January, artificial means, staggered on six weeks 1839, the United States Bank took the and then fell prostrate to rise no more. lead, and resumption became general Shortly after it was put in process of throughout the Union. The inherent liquidation. Its stock now sells for weakness of the dreadfully misman- $3 per share, and its circulating notes aged institution at the head of the at 63 per cent discount. After the movement was such, however, that it failure of this ghost of a national bank, soon became evident that specie pay- the sound banks in different parts of ments could not be maintained. The the Union began to discover that to catastrophe was hastened by threat- save themselves they must resume on ened hostilities between Great Britain their own footing. The South Caroand the United States, in January and lina and Savannah banks accordingly February, 1839, growing out of diffi- successively returned to specie payculties in relation to the boundary ments, and have since maintained it, · question. The immediate effect of the with the exception of some weak ones, war panic was to prevent the negotia, which gave way. The cloak of sustion of American stocks in the London pension no longer served to screen the market. The sale of these stocks was insolvent institutions, and they were the only means by which the United forced to wind up-to what extent, States Bank could hope to sustain the list furnished in our last number itself. The stocks of the several States gives evidence. We would here menwere obtained by it on credit, and as tion, however, that in that list we long as they could be sold in the fo- stated that the “ Planters' Bank" of reign market, the bank was supplied Georgia had stopped. It should have with active means. As we have stated, been “ Planters and Mechanics' Bank." this was checked by the apprehension The people in all parts of the Union of hostilities, and it became evident became so impatient of the depreciated that nothing could save the institution currency furnished by the banks, that several State legislatures were forced same state of the public mind which to take the matter in hand, and fix days forced resumption in Philadelphia was, on which payments were to be re- however, operating to produce the sumed, under pain of forfeiture. The same effect in New Orleans, and at the Ohio banks did so in March, those of date of our last, discredit had forced Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in April, five institutions into liquidation. There and were followed by those of Balti- then remained ten, five of which were more, and at the date of our last, the in favor of immediate resumption. The following banks were paying specie: others being insolvent, wished to put

it off as long as possible. Hence disaOhio,

Michigan, greements arose, in the midst of which Maryland, Delaware,

specie payments were resolved upon, Georgia,

North Carolina, and were perfected on the 16th of May Pennsylvania, New Jersey, by 17 banks. In a few days the Missouri.

remaining three came into the The banks of the following States measure. The resumption effected have since returned to specie pay- under these circumstances, did not ments:

command public confidence, and the Illinois,

Kentucky, demands upon the banks for coin were North Carolina, New Orleans, constant. Their liabilities were raIndiana.

pidly returned upon them for payment, The banks of Tennessee were re- and the continued disagreement among quired, by law, to resume within 20 the banks created a panic which ended, days after those of Kentucky and New on the 3d of June, in the failure of five Orleans should have done so. The banks. The following is a table of law of Louisiana required 'the banks the liabilities and assets of the five of that State to resume on the first banks which failed, and of those which Monday of December, 1842. The continue to pay their debts:


Suspended Banks.

Specie-paying Banks.
Liabilities. Assets.

Liabilities. Assets. Canal Bank, 390,449 5,457,627 Bank of Louisiana, 840,095 5,503,152 Citizens' Bank, 2,824, 868 10,886,593 Carrollton Bank, 120,311 2,409,725 Commercial Bank, 1,026,301 4,306,683 City Bank, 1,312,113 3,932,687 Consolidated Bank, 968,595 3,604,437 Mec. & Trad. Bank, 414,104 2,843,728 State Bank, 1,048,282 3,230,460 Union Bank, 1,482,721 11,240,344 Total, May 28, $6,253,495 27,485,800

4,177,348 25,929,636 “ April 30, 7,100,702 28,595,472

4,469,181 25,851,213 Reduction, 847,207 1,109,632


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

This table indicates how powerfully paper system since the great revulsion, the test of specie payments acts in dis- in order to bring them down to the criminating the sound from the un- present time. The great struggle is, sound banks. It is to be hoped, that however, by no means yet complete. the remaining banks may be enabled Alabama, Virginia, Florida, and other to sustain themselves. If so, the puri- sections, have yet to go through the fication that has taken place will be ordeal; and the probability is, that few of vast benefit to the whole commu- institutions, more especially those nity. New Orleans being the great based upon borrowed capital, will remarket for the sale of western and main. The country is slowly but southern produce, it is of the highest surely returning to that state of things importance to the whole community which existed during its earlier history, that a sound currency should be main when its whole capital was applied to tained there.

production, thereby increasing the We have thus rapidly sketched the actual wealth of the country. At that leading events that have overtaken the period the trade of the country, or the

exchange of commodities, was con- The defalcations and frauds that have ducted in the Atlantic cities with very been discovered in moneyed institutions little aid from bank paper. Men were during the past three years, amount to then patient, industrious, frugal, and, near $15,000,000, a fact which speaks of course, prosperous. The aggregate volumes for the state of morals brought wealth of the whole country rapidly about by the use of paper money. increased. The morals of the people The state of commercial affairs during were of a grade much higher than the month has been one of great uncernow, when the paper system has left its tainty, growing mostly out of the accorrupting influence; and credit, or that tion of the federal government, in relamoral confidence in the integrity of the tion to its financial affairs. The leadborrower, which enabled the young ing events of the past year are known and enterprising to obtain the capital to most of our readers; but it may be of the wealthy on easy terms for a well to sum up the events here, in length of time, existed to a much order to arrive at a correct understandgreater extent now. The great Frank- ing of the present most disgracesul polin states in his memoirs, that his in- sition of things. The tariff law of dustry and good conduct procured him 1832–3, commonly called the comprothe offer of a loan of money at six per mise act, was essentially protective in cent. for a term of two or three years, its nature. The mass of the people to purchase a press and type where- composing the great south and west with to prosecute his business. Such were opposed to the aristocratic princian instance, we will venture to say, ple of “protection," or taxing the many does not take place under the rule of for the benefit of the few. The north the banking system. If Franklin and east, however, who were of the should have lived in our day, and been interest that wished to be protected, in want of money to buy a press, capi- exerted themselves powerfully to protalists would have told him that their cure the imposition of the required money was invested in bank stocks. taxes, which was done in the tariff of The banks would have told him, that 1832. They stated that if the protecif he could get two responsible endor- tion was extended to them for a few sers, they would lend him the money years, they should become so strong as for 90 days! Of what use would that not to need it for the future. Accordhave been to him? Could he have ingly the masses of the people yielded earned the price of his press and re- to their entreaties, and high duties were turned the money in 90 days ? Cer- imposed. These were, however, to be tainly not. The operation of banks is, diminished by biennial reductions until therefore, to destroy that credit which, June, 1842, when the rates would yield under a specie system, enables the in a uniform duty of 20 per cent., which it dustrious poor to obtain the means of was then supposed would be, thereprosecuting their labor. Banks can after, sufficient for the revenues of the not, from the nature of their business, government. This arrangement was lend money for more than 60 to 90 continued with great success, and under days. Hence it is that their useful- the high duties, $28.000,000 of surness is confined to traders and commer- plus revenue was accumulated, which cial towns. In industrial and pro- was divided among the States. With ductive countries their presence is a the revulsion in the banking system, detriment rather than a benefit. however, the revenues fell off, and it Where they are carried to excess, as was found that the receipts were not has been the case in this country, their equal to the expenditure, especially demoralizing effects are soon apparent during the Florida war. The deficiency

-a fact that has been made too pain- was supplied by treasury notes, and fully evident during the past month in never reached more than about $5,000,the conviction of a forger whose opera. 000 until the close of last year, when tions were so extensive and so skilthe present administration came into fully conducted, that, at the moment of power. The late able Secretary of their discovery, commercial men were the Treasury, Mr. Woodbury, in paralysed, and paper of any kind was making his report, showed clearly that with difficulty negotiated. Another case by levying a duty of 20 per cent. on has been a defalcation of near $153,000 articles heretofore free, the revenues of by the officer of an insurance company. the government would be increased

« AnteriorContinuar »