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been made of private fortunes, or perfect independence of mind and that difficulties should exist in action, it was provided that their meeting their engagements on the removal should only take place for part of the debtor states.
actual incapacity or infidelity to “Apart from which, if there be the trust, and to be followed by the taken into account the immense President with an exposition of losses sustained in the dishonour the cause of such removal, should of numerous banks, it is less a
it occur. matter of surprise that insolvency “It was proposed to establish should have visited many of our subordinate boards in each of the fellow-citizens than that so many states, under the same restrictions should have escaped the blighting and limitations of the power of reinfluence of the times.
moval, which, with the central “In the solemn conviction of board, should receive, safely keep, hese truths, and with an ardent and disburse the public monies; desire to meet the pressing neces- and in order to furnish a sound sities of the country, I felt it to be paper medium of exchange, the my duty to cause to be submitted Exchequer should retain of the reto you, at the commencement of venue of the government a sum your late session, the plan of an not to exceed 5,000,000 dollars in Exchequer, the whole power and specie, to be set apart as required duty of maintaining which in pu- by its operations, and to pay the rity and vigour, was to be exer- public creditor at his own option, cised by the representatives of the either in specie or Treasury notes, people themselves. It was proposed of denomination not less than 5 to place it under the control and dollars, nor exceeding 100 dollars, direction of a treasury board, to which notes should be redeemed consist of three commissioners, at the several places of issue, and whose duty it should be to see that to be receivable at all times and the law of its creation was faith everywhere in payment of governfully executed, and that the greatment dues, with a restraint upon end of supplying a paper medium such issue of bills that the same of exchange at all times converti- should not exceed the maximum ble into gold and silver should be of 15,000,000 dollars. attained.
“In order to guard against all "The board thus constituted was the hazards incident to fluctuations given as much permanency as could in trade, the Secretary of the Treabe imparted to it, without endan- sury was invested with authority gering the proper share of respon- to issue 5,000,000 dollars of gosibility which should attach to all yernment stock, should the same public agents. In order to secure at any time be regarded as necesall the advantages of a well-ma. sary, in order to place beyond hatured experience, the commission- zard the prompt redemption of the ers were to hold their offices for bills which might be thrown into the respective periods of two, four, circulation. Thus, in fact, making and six years, thereby securing at the issue of 15,000,000 dollars of all times, in the management of Exchequer-bills rest substantially the Exchequer, the services of two on 10,000,000 dollars; and keepmen of experience; and to place ing in circulation never more than them in a condition to exercise 1 dollars for every dollar in spe.
cie. When to this it is added that country. Entertaining this opinthe bills are not only everywhere ion, it becomes my duty to urge receivable in government dues, but its adoption upon Congress, by rethat the government itself would ference to the strongest considerbe bound for their ultimate re ations of the public interests, with demption, no rational doubt can such alterations in its details as exist that the paper which the Congress may in its wisdom see Exchequer would furnish would fit to make. readily enter into general circula “I am well aware that this protion, and be maintained at all times posed alteration ayd amendment of at or above par with gold or silver; the laws establishing the Treasury thereby realizing the great want department has encountered variof the age, and fulfilling the wishes ous objections, and that among of the people.
others it has been proclaimed a “In order to reimburse the go- government bank of fearful and vernment the expences of the plan, dangerous import. It is proposed it was proposed to invest the Ex to confer upon it no extraordinary chequer with the limited authority powers. It purports to do no more to deal in bills of exchange, unless ihan pay the debts of the governprohibited by the state in which ment with the redeemable paper an agency might be situated, hav, of the government, in which reing only thirty days to run, and spect it accomplishes precisely what resting on a fair and bona fide the Treasury does daily at the time, basis. The legislative will on this in issuing to the public creditors point might be so plainly an the Treasury notes which it is aunounced as to avoid all pretext for thorized to issue. It has no repartiality or favouritism. It was semblance to an ordinary bank, as furthermore proposed to invest this it furnishes no profits to private Treasury agent with authority to stockholders, and lends no capital receive on deposit, to a limited to individuals. If it be objected amount, the specie funds of indi. to as a government bank, and the viduals, and to grant certificates objection be available, then should therefore to be redeemed on pre- all the laws in relation to the sentation, under the idea, which Treasury be repealed, and the cahe believed to be well founded, pacity of the government to collect that such certificates would come what is due to it, or pay what it in aid of the Exchequer-bills in owes, be abrogated. supplying a safe and ample paper “ This is the chief purpose of the circulation. Or, if in place of the proposed Exchequer; and surely, contemplated dealings in exchange, if, in the accomplishment of a purthe Exchequer should be author- pose so essential, it affords a sound ized not only to exchange its bills circulating medium to the country for actual deposits of specie, but and facilitates to trade, it should for specie or its equivalent to sell be regarded as no slight recomdraughts, charging therefore a mendation of it to public considersmalĩ but reasonable premium, I ation. Properly guarded by the cannot doubt, but that the benefits provisions of law, it can run into of the law would be speedily mani. no dangerous evils; nor can any fest in the revival of the credit, abuse arise under it but such as the trade, and business of the whole the Legislature itself will be an
swerable for if it be tolerated, since a course so reckless, since their it is but the creature of the law, agents would be the wrongdoers, and is susceptible at all times of and they the passive spectators. modification, amendment, or repeal, “There can be but three kinds at the pleasure of Congress. I of public currency,-first, gold and know that it has been objected, silver; second, the paper of state that the system would be liable to institutions; or, third, a represenbe abused by the Legislature, by tative of the precious metals, prowhom alone it could be abused in vided by the general government, the party conflicts of the day. or under its authority. The sub
“That such abuse would mani. treasury system rejected the last fest itself in a change of the law, in any form; and, as it was bewhich would authorize an exces lieved that no reliance could be sive issue of paper for the purpose placed on the issues of local insti. of inflating prices and winning tutions for the purposes of general popular favour. To that it may circulation, it necessarily and unbe answered, that the ascription of avoidably adopted specie as the exsuch a motive to Congress is alto- clusive currency for its own use. gether gratuitous and inadmissi “ And this must ever be the case ble. The theory of our institu- unless one of the other kind be tions would lead us to a different used. The choice, in the present conclusion. But a perfect security state of public sentiment, lies beagainst a proceeding so reckless tween an exclusive specie currency would be found to exist in the on the one hand, and government very nature of things. The polic issues of some kind on the other. tical party which should be so That these issues cannot be made blind to the true interests of the by a chartered institution, is supcountry as to resort to such an ex posed to be conclusively settled. pedient, would inevitably meet with They must be made then directly final overthrow in the fact that the by government agents. For semoment the paper ceased to be veral years past they have been convertible into specie, or other thus made in the form of Treasury wise promptly redeemed, it would notes, and have answered a valu. become worthless, and would, in able purpose. Their usefulness has the end, dishonour the government, been limited by their being traninvolve the people in ruin, and such sient and temporary; their ceasing political party in hopeless disgrace. to bear interest at given periods
“At the same time, such a view necessarily causes their speedy reinvolves the utter impossibility of turn, and thus restricts their range furnishing any currency other than of circulation, and, being used only that of the precious metals, for, if in the disbursements of governthe government itself cannot fore- ment, they cannot reach those go the temptation of excessive pa- points where they are most reper issues, what reliance can be quired. placed in corporations upon whom “ The credit of the government the temptations of individual ag- may be regarded as the very soul grandizement would most strongly of the government itself—a prinoperate? The people would have ciple of vitality without which all to blame none but themselves for its movements are languid and all any injury that might arise from its operations embarrassed. In this
spirit the Executive felt himself and talent was sent to Europe with bound by the most imperative sense no better success; and thus the of duty to submit to Congress, at mortifying spectacle has been preits last session, the propriety of sented of the inability of this gomaking a specific pledge of the vernment to obtain a loan so small land fund as the basis for the nego as not in the whole to amount to tiations of the loans authorised to more than one-fourth of its ordibe contracted. I then thought that nary annual income, at a time such an application of the public when the governments of Europe, domain would, without doubt, have although involved in debt, and placed at the command of the go- with their subjects heavily burvernment ample funds to relieve thened with taxation, readily obthe Treasury from the temporary tain loans of any amount at a embarrassments under which it greatly reduced rate of interest. laboured. American credit has " It has now become obvious to suffered a considerable shock in all men that the government must Europe from the large indebtedness look to its own means for supplyof the states and the temporary ing its wants, and it is consoling inability of some of them to meet to know that these means are altothe interest on their debts.
gether adequate for the object. “The utter and disastrous pros- The Exchequer, if adopted, will tration of the United States Bank greatly aid in bringing about this of Pennsylvania bad contributed result. Upon what I regard as a largely to increase the sentiment well-founded supposition, that its of distrust by reason of the loss bills would be readily sought for and ruin sustained by the holders by the public creditors, and that of its stock, a large portion of the issue would in a short time whom were foreigners, and many reach the maximum of 15,000,000 of whom were alike ignorant of dollars, it is obvious that 10,000,000 our political organisation and of dollars would thereby be added to our actual reponsibilities. It was the available means of the Treathe anxious desire of the Executive sury without cost or charge. Nor that in the effort to negociate the can I fail to urge the great and loan abroad the American nego- beneficial effects which would be ciator might be able to point the produced in aid of all the active money-lender to the fund mort- pursuits of life. gaged for the redemption of the " Its effect upon the solvent principal and interest of any loan state banks, while it would force he might contract, and thereby into liquidation those of an oppovindicate government from all sus site character through its weekly picion of bad faith or inability to settlements, would be highly benemeet its engagements. Congress ficial: and with the advantages of differed from the Executive in this a sound currency the restoration view of the subject.
of confidence and credit would It became, nevertheless, the duty follow, with a numerous train of of the Executive to resort to every blessings. My convictions are most expedient in its power to negociate strong that these benefits would the authorized loan.
flow from the adoption of this failure to do so in the American measure; but, if the result should market, a citizen of high character be adverse, there is this security in
connection with it,- that the law exports of the produce of the forest creating it may be repealed at the show an increase ; 1838 being pleasure of the legislature, with- stated at 5,200,499 dollars, 1839 out the slightest implication of its at 5,764,559 dollars, and 1841 at good faith
6,264,852 dollars. Of agricultural “I have thus, fellow-citizens, produce, including the raising of acquitted myself of my duty under crops and the breed of cattle, the the constitution, by laying before exports are stated at 9,104,514 you, as succinctly as I have been dollars for 1838, 13,588,186 dolable, the state of the union, and lars for 1839, and 16,737,462 dolby inviting your attention to mea lars for 1841. Of the tobaccosures of much_importance to the crop, in 1838 the value exported country. The Executive will most was 7,292,029 dollars ; in 1839, zealously unite its efforts with those 9,882,943 dollars; and 12,576,703 of the legislative department in the dollars in 1841. Of the cottonaccomplishment of all that is re- crop, the value exported was quired to relieve the wants of a 61,556,811 dollars in
1838, common constituency, or elevate 61,238,982 dollars in 1839, and the destinies of a beloved coun. 54,330,341 dollars in 1841. And try.”
the exports of manufactures are The following is a statistical stated at 8,482,321 dollars for summary of the value of the ex 1838, and 9,590,531 dollars for ports of produce and manufactures 1839, and 6,481,502 dollars for of the United States for three 1841. Of these general amounts, years, 1838, 1839, and 1841. The England, for herself and Colonies, exports of the produce of the sea took 850,540 barrels of flour, had declined to 2,846,851 dollars, 850,865 bushels of wheat, 324,709 having in the year 1838 been as bushels of Indian corn and 96,810 high as 3,175,576 dollars. The barrels of pork.