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gress, in pursuance of the views the practice of examining the inculcated in its celebrated re- books of the land officers once port.
a year and ascertaining the balThe subject was therefore again ance in the hands of the receivers. fully before the country, and the This bill was passed into a law, Committee felt bound to at least but the others, which, aimed more appear to act in behalf of a cause directly at retrenching expenses, upon which so much stress had that were stigmatized as indicabeen laid during the pendency of tions of the corrupt administration the appeal to public opinion. of affairs, were not deemed of Bills were accordingly brought in sufficient importance to warrant a at different times during the ses- vigorous effort to carry them. sion, 1st, to regulate the mileage That establishing an uniform of members of Congress; 2d, mode of computing the mileage
, the allowance for forage to army of members of Congress indeed officers ; 3d, to prevent improper received the sanction of the House allowances to public agents in of Representatives, but was laid settling their accounts ; 4th, to on the table in the Senate upon abolish the board of Navy Com- motion of Mr Bibb, and remained missioners; 5th, to prohibit the use there until the termination of the of secret service money in time session. Most of the other bills reof peace; 6th, to abolish the office mained undisturbed in the House, of Major General in the army; and the session closed without 7th, brevet rank both in the army further notice of a subject, which and marine corps ; 8th, to abolish had proved the cause of so much the practice of annually examin- agitation and invective during the ing the land officers ; 9th, to regu- last administration. late the pay of military and na- Nothing was retrenched and val officers : 10th, to secure the the attempts which were made accountability of public agents in by some of the accounting offiforeign countries.
cers of the Treasury to introduce Resolutions were also brought a new system into that department, in by the Committee to abolish caused so much confusion and the office of Draughtsman of the inconvenience, that Congress was house; to diminish the expenses compelled by resolution or by of public printing, and also in law to direct the continuance of favor of specific appropriations; the former allowances. but they were permitted to re- The cause of reform fared no main undisturbed except the re- better in the Senate, where a solution relating to the Draughts- select Committee was appointed man, which after long and fre- to take this and other subjects of quent debates was carried, 95 af- a political character into considerfirmative, 86 negative.
atiou. A similar fate attended the Bills were reported by the bills reported to curtail the ex- chairman (Mr Benton) to carry, penses of the Government, with into effect the principles of reform, de xception of that abolishing which had been so highly praised
viz. to regulate the publication of reception in Congress. The the laws and public advertise- President had thought it incumments; to displace defaulters; to bent on him to express a strong regulate the appointment of post- opinion against the propriety of masters, cadets and midshipmen, renewing the charter of the bank and to prevent military and naval of the United States, which exofficers from being dismissed at pires in 1836. The bank had the pleasure of the President. not applied for a renewal of its
The period however had pass- charter, but as the attention of ed when these bills were in the Congress had been thus distinctly opinion of the former, indispensa- directed to this institution, it was bly necessary; tempora mutantur referred to the Committees on et nos mutamur in illis, had now finance in the several Houses of become the motto of the dominant Congress for examination. party, and the work of retrench- The subject was fully considment and reform found as little ered by these Committees, and favor in the Senate as in the other on the 13th of April, 1830, Mr branch of the Legislature. McDuffie, the chairman of the
The amendments to the Con- Committee of ways and means stitution were deemed equally in the House, made a report unimportant and met with like diametrically opposite to the reneglect. The message of the commendation of the President. President recommended them to
Respecting the first proposition the attention of Congress, and the contained in the message, that Committee in the Senate pursuant Congress had not the constituto the recommendation, reported tional power to incorporate a a resolution to amend the Con- bank, the committee deemed stitution by altering the mode of that question no longer open for electing the President and Vice discussion. They however cited President. Nothing however was in its behalf, not only the decidone to give effect to the recom- sions of the judiciary and the mendation, and the amendment opinions of all the leading statesof the Constitution slept side by men of every party, but the offiside with the reform in the ad- cial sanction of every President, ministration of the Government. including Mr Jefferson, under
These subjects of excitement whose administration the old bank had subverted the purposes for was authorized to establish a which they were intended, and Branch at New Orleans. the objects of the agitators being The first bank of the United answered in the triumph of their States was incorporated about two party, the instruments by which years after the formation of the they had accomplished their ends, Government, when most of thre were laid aside as no longer ne- framers of the Constitution were cessary.
either in Congress or in the Cab
inet. The act incorporating it was Another topic introduced into passed by large majorities and the message, met with a still worse received the sanction of General Washington. This, bank contin- of the bank as shown from the Conued its operations for twenty years, stitution itself, and came to the during which time public and pri- conclusion, that Congress was vate credit were advanced to an empowered to institute a bank elevated condition, and the finan- not only as one of the necessary ces of the country placed upon a and proper means of executing solid foundation.
the powers vested in it by the Mr Jefferson came into power Constitution, but also as an indisafter a violent political conflict, pensable means in regulating the and the bank was in popular opin- national currency. ion associated with those mea- They also came to a different sures, which had rendered the opinion from that contained in the federal party unpopular.
message respecting the expedienAs a party, therefore, those ad- cy of the measure. At the time ministering the Government were when the bank was established, opposed to the renewal of its the currency of the Union was charter, and on the proposition to disordered to such an extent that renew it, the question was nega- in some places it was depreciated tived by the casting vote of the 25 per cent more than in others. President of the Senate and by The circulating medium of the a majority of a single vote in the United States had been increased House of Representatives. by the excessive issues of the
Within less than three years banks to $110,000,000; and after the expiration of the charter, the effects of this depreciated the circulating medium became currency were not only manifestdisordered, the public finances ed in all the business transactions deranged, and the public credit of the community, but had been impaired. Every member of the productive of irretrievable ruin to Cabinet was convinced by experi- thousands of innocent individ
ence of the necessity of a national uals. - bank, and the measure was recom- Shortly after the establishment
mended to Congress by the Sec- of the bank, the other banks were retary of the Treasury (Mr compelled to resume specie payDallas). Congress accordingly ments and within three from took the subject into consideration, the date of its charter, the cirand finally passed by large ma- culating medium of the country jorities, the act incorporating the was reduced to $45,000,000, present bank.
and the nation furnished with a This history of the bank fur- sound currency, more uniform in nished a strong argument in favor its value than specie itself, and of its constitutionality, and in ad-' of absolute uniform value for all dition to this, there was a deci- the purposes of paying the public sion of the Supreme Court_di- contributions and disbursing the rectly to the same point. The public revenue. committee then went into an ex- As the annual collections of the amination of the constitutionality government amount to $23,000,
000, or nearly one half of the United States, and would take whole circulating medium of the away all limit to excessive issues. country, the bills of the bank are With branches, it would be still thus rendered of nearly uniform more objectionable, as it vested value for all purposes, aud more the Federal Government with a so than the circulating medium of patronage of most extensive inany country of equal extent in fuene and embracing the conthe world.
trol of all the bank accommodaThey therefore concluded, that tions to the standing amount of the bank had fulfilled the ends $50,000,000. Such a control for which it was chartered, and would introduce more corruption that if the question were now on in the Government, than all the the renewal of its charter, that patronage now belonging to it. expediency and a regard for the It was a desperate financial expublic interest would dictate its periment, without parallel in the renewa).
history of the world. The ComThose in whose hands the in- mittee also doubted the power stitution was now placed had Congress to vest the power of managed it with discretion and loaning the public funds in another ability, and had scrupulously body; but, if it were clear, the avoided all interference with poli- objections to the scheme were so tics. The stockholders had gen- obvious and conclusive, that they erally purchased in at advanced unhesitatingly condemned it as prices, and a large portion of pregnant with the most portenthem were small capitalists or tous mischiefs and calculated to trustees of widows and ophans, introduce the most pernicious inand it was believed that as advan- fluence into the public councils. tageous terms could be obtained The report from the Committee by the government for a renewal on finance in the Senate, concurfrom the present bank as from red with that of the House in its any new institution with a greater conclusions, and was equally decertainty of their being fulfilled. cisive in its condemnation of the
The Committee then proceeded sentiments of the President. to examine the proposition of the The friends of the administraPresident to establish a national tion formed a majority in both bank, founded upon the credit of Committees, and the marked difthe Government and its revenues.'ference in the opinions entertained Without branches they thought it by them from that expressed in would fail to furnish a currency, the message, afforded a striking that would be available to the proof of the want of harmony Union at large and would in effect between the Cabinet and the b e merely a district bank, but party which had brought it into whether with or without branches power. it would be objectionable ; inas- The effect produced in the much as it would vest in its direc- public mind by the message was tion the power to pledge the entirely done away, and the stock whole credit and resources of the of the bank, which had fallen
upon the delivery of the message ple of retaliation, a principle from 126 to 120, rose after the which, in the opinion of many, publication of these reports to was deemed to have entered more 127 and finally attained the price largely into the motive to the of $130 per share.
tariff of 1828, than any desire to
protectthe American manufacOn another topic of general turer from foreign competition. importance, the recommendation In modifying the tariff, the atof the President met with more tention of Congress was particufavor. The Tariff of 1828, be- larly invited to the agricultural came a law during the excitement interest, as superior in importance of a contested election, and in to all other interests, which were adjusting its details, more regard deserving of encouragement only had been paid to the political ef- so far as they contribute to infect of the law than to the per- crease the value of agicultural manent interests of the country, productions, and it was also ador to the rules of political econo- vised to unite in diminishing all my. Indeed some provisions had burdens obnoxious to any parbeen introduced into the bill by ticular section of the Union. its enemies, with the express view This recommendation was too of rendering it obnoxious, and oracular to be relied on as indithe very end of the law, that of cative of the real opinions of the encouraging the woollen interest, President on this disputed queswas hazarded, and at all events tion. rendered more difficult of attain- The exceptions in favor of artiment by the almost prohibitory cles required in time of duty imposed on the coarse wool might be indefinitely extended, of South America.
so as to comprehend more than In his annual message the Presi- even the advocates of an ultra dent had invited the attention of tariff demanded. Congress to the subject, and A nation requires in war all stated, that the general rule to be and even more than it consumes observed in imposing duties upon in peace, and even in an army, articles of foreign production was woollen, cotton, linen and iron that which would place our own manufactures and a variety of in fair competition with those of other protected articles, are of other countries, except those ar- prime necessity. Unless the exticles which are of primary ception be confined to fire arms, necessity in time of war. In powder and ball, it is too inlaying down this rule for the definite to mean anything, and modification of the tariff, an im- with that construction, the recomplied dissent, except as to articles mendation is hostile to the tariff required in time of war, was policy. given to the principle of protection, It was probably so understood, upon which the tariff of 1828, and with the view of affecting a was founded ; nor was any reser- modification of the revenue sysvation made in favor of the princi- tem, several bills were introduced