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charter, followed up this recommendation by the expression of his doubts as to their safety, if continued in its custody.
An agent, appointed by the treasury, to investigate the actual condition of the bank, shortly after made his report, and it appeared that this institution, whose solvency was thus openly attacked, had funds to the amount of $79,593,870, and that its liabilities did not exceed $37,296,950, having an excess of $7,296,920, besides its capital of $35,000,000.
Exception, too, was taken by the government, to the course adopted by the bank, in relation to the redemption of the three per cents. In his desire to extinguish the public debt, the president had determined to pay off the three per cents., although they were redeemable at pleasure, and were much below par.
In March 1832, accordingly the secretary of the treasury notified the bank that it was the intention of the government to pay one half of the three per cent. certificates to each stockholder, on the 1st of July next.
In reply, the president of the bank suggested, that a large amount of duties ($9,000,000,) would fall due before that day, and that in order to accommodate the merchants, it would be better to loan the money to them, instead of paying it to the European stockholders, and consequently the payment of the debt had better be postponed for one quarter. This suggestion
was acceded to by the secretary, upon condition that the bank would pay the interest accruing on the three per cents. during the quarter, and upon that footing the redemption was deferred.
In the mean time, the cholera appeared in the country, and threatened to cause a suspension of business, and great commercial distress. In order to enable the bank to relieve the merchants, an arrangement was made by which it agreed with the foreign stockholders to pay the interest on their stock for an other year, if they would not present their stock for payment.
To this arrangement the government objected, and censured the bank for an arrangement which conflicted with the wish of the government to entinguish the debt. The bank had, however, in the mean time disavowed the arrangement which was made through its agent in Europe, and the stock was actually redeemed in the ordinary course of business at the treasury.
The president was not satisfied with this, and the arrangement was made the subject of much invective on the part of the administration press; and it was freely asserted that the disposition to postpone the redemption of the three per cents. proceeded from inability to pay over the deposits.
Another cause of criminaion, grew out of the bill drawn
by the secretary of the treasury for the first instalment under the French treaty.
Instead of sending to the American minister at Paris an authority to receive the money, or even of remitting the bill for collection through the bank, the government took the unusual step of selling a bill to the bank at the current rate of exchange, and appropriated the proceeds to the current uses of the treasury.
The bill was not paid, and, to save the credit of the bank, its agents took it up.
A claim for damages pursuant to the ordinary custom of merchants, was made for the dishonour of the bill, and the president of the U. S. was indignant that the bank should call for damages, when he contended that the public moneys in the bank were more than sufficient to pay the amount of the bill. For these reasons the executive recommended to congress, to remove the public moneys from the custody of the bank, and also to sell the stock belonging to the government in that institution.
Pursuant to this recommendation, a bill was reported on the 13th of February by Mr. Polk, from the committee of ways and means, for the sale of the stock; but Mr. Wickliffe moved, upon
its first reading, that the bill be rejected, and it was accordingly rejected, ayes 102, nays 91.
The subject of the public deposits was referred to the same committee, and on the 1st of March, Mr. Verplanck made a report, in which he stated that the committee had examined the report of the treasury agent, and also the directors of the bank, under oath, and that it appeared that on the 1st of January, 1832, the bank had $80,865,000 of available resources, and that its liabilities amounted to only $37,800,000. The committee consequently recommended a resolution, that the government deposits may, in the opinion of the house, be safely continued in the bank of the United States.
Mr. Polk, from the minority of the committee, also made a report, in which the conduct of the bank was condemned, but no conclusion was drawn as to the propriety of continuing the deposits in its custody.
The next day the resolution was taken up for discussion, and after an earnest discussion by Mr. Polk in opposition, and Messrs. Ingersoll and M'Duffie in support of the resolution, the previous question was ordered, ayes 86, nays 30, and the resolution was passed, ayes 109, nays 46.
Treasury Report for 1832.-Appropriations for Pensions.-for support of Government.-for Naval Service.-for Fortifications.-for Military Service.-for Indian Department.-for District of Columbia.—for Internal Improvement.-LightHouse Bill lost.
The expenditures during the Bank dividends, and inci
first three quarters of the same year were estimated as follows:
Civil, diplomatic, and miscellaneous,
Military, including pensions, Indian department,
dental and miscellaneous
The expenditures for the year 1833, for all objects, other than the reimbursement of the public
debt, are estimated at, 17,638,577 35, viz:
The estimates for the public service, having been referred to the committees, the bills provi3,045,361 70 ding for the wants of the several departments, were reported by the committee of ways and means, and that providing for 6,878,790 09 the pension list, was taken up in the house on the 3d of January, and, having received the sanction of both houses, became a law.
4,000,000 3,377,429 38 336,996 18
During the year 1833, however, the moneys received from Denmark, for the payment of the indemnities due to American citizens, under the convention, will be payable, estimated at 694,000 00. Which, added to the expenditures, make the aggregate charge upon the treasury for the year, exclusive of the reimbursement of the public debt, 18,322,577 35. The public debt, on the 2d of January, 1832, amounted to $24,322,235 18. The amount disbursed on that account, during 1832, was, for payment of principal, 17,302,410 82. Interest 777,646 64. Leaving only 7,001,698 83 of public debt, existing on the 1st January, 1833,
As the bank shares belonging to the United States, with the premium, amounted to more than that sum, the secretary regarded the stock as substantially extinguished, ard congress was congratulated upon that event. The secretary then went on to recommend a reduction of the duties to the revenue standard.
By this act $624,685, were appropriated to the revolutionary pensioners, in addition to an unexpended balance of $360,540: $98,782, to the invalid pensioners, in addition to an unexpended balance of $201,942, and $5500 to widows and orphans.
A bill making appropriations in part for the support of the government for 1833, and for certain expenditures in 1832, was brought forward in the house on the 17th of December. By this bill, it was proposed to allow for the pay of congress, and its officers, $342,268, and for stationery, and contingent expenses, $25,600, for the senate, and $100,000, for the house.
An amendment was proposed in the house by Mr. Foster, so as to prevent the expenditure of any part of the contingent fund for any printing, except such as was connected with the ordinary proceedings of congress, and executed under contract of the the public printer.
This amendment was carried, ayes 101, nays 70, and the bill was sanctioned by the senate, and became a law.
The general appropriation bill for 1833, was not taken up in the committee of the whole house, until the 1st of March.
At this late period of the session, it was not possible to go into an examination of the public expenditures.
The committee on public lands had been directed to investigate the affairs of the land office, and Mr. Wickliffe, when this bill was taken up, stated that the committee had not been able, for want of time, to complete the investigation of the concerns of the land office, but from the progress which had been made, he was fully convinced that the commissioner had made an improper application of the funds placed in his hands.
Mr. Verplanck proposed an item to cover certain arrearages which had improperly accrued in that office. He said he did it with great reluctance, and merely because the government must of course pay debts contracted by its authority. But the expenditure had the decided disapprobation of the committee of ways and means.
This amendment was adopted, but one proposed by Mr. Verplanck allowing $34,000, for extra clerk hire in the post office department, was promptly negatived, as was an amendment proposed by Mr. Washington, granting $250,000, to enable the city of Washington to pay up its subscription to the stock of the Washington and Ohio
An amendment was also
made, providing for the appointment of a commissioner of pensions, with a salary of $2500, and the privilege of franking.
The bill was then reported to the house, and the next day was taken up in the house, and the amendments were agreed to.
The amendment providing for the appointment of a commissioner of pensions with privilege of franking, was amended, on motion of Mr. E. Everett, extending the franking privilege of members of Congress.
Mr. Verplanck moved an additional appropriation of $34,000, for clerks in the post office department.
Mr. E. Whittlesey opposed this amendment.
Mr. Conner supported itand read a letter from Mr. M'Lean, late postmaster General, on the subject.
Mr. Wickliffe opposed the amendment at length, which was further supported by Messrs. Connor and R. M. Johnson, and adopted.
Mr. Bell moved to amend the bill, by inserting a clause granting Stephen Pleasanton $5,000 for certain extra services performed by him.
Mr. Hubbard moved the previous question on the bill as previously amended-which was sustained, and the bill was passed and sent to the senate for concurrence.
In that body, the bill was amended by making appropriations for custom-houses at Baltimore and Newburyport; ordering the instalments to be received from France, under the