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THE UNITED STATES Bank De
Jackson's various steps in his opposition to the Bank of the United States have been noted on pages 204-215. Believing that the bank was unsound, Jackson, in the summer of 1833, directed the Secretary of the Treasury to remove the public deposits therefrom. The Secretary declined and was removed; a successor was appointed and soon dismissed. Attorney-General Taney was then appointed Secretary; and the order for the removal was issued by him on September 26th. On September 18th Jackson presented to his Cabinet the following“ paper,” recounting his views and actions. Text in “Congressional Globe” (1833-35), Vol. I., pp. 59-62. (See page 54.)
Having carefully and anxiously considered all the facts and arguments, which have been submitted to him, relative to a removal of the public deposites from the bank of the United States, the President deems it his duty, to communicate in this manner to his cabinet the final conclusions of his own mind, and the reasons on which they are founded, in order to put them in durable form, and to prevent misconceptions.
The power of the secretary of the treasury over the deposites is unqualified. The provision that he shall report his reasons to congress, is no limitation. Had it not been inserted, he would have been responsible to congress, had he made a removal for any other than
WILLIAM J. DUANE (Secretary of the Treasury in 1833. He opposed President Jackson's action in the matter of the United States Bank, and was dismissed from office within four months of his appointment. He was succeeded by Roger B. Taney)
good reasons, and his responsibility now ceases, upon the rendition of sufficient ones to congress. The only object of the provision, is to make his reasons accessible to congress, and enable that body the more readily to judge of their soundness and purity, and thereupon to make such further provision by law as the legislative power may think proper in relation to the deposite of the public money. Those reasons may be very diversified. It was asserted by the secretary of the treasury without contradiction, as early as 1817, that he had power “to control the proceedings” of the bank of the United States at any moment, “by changing the deposites to the state banks,” should it pursue an illiberal course towards those institutions; that “the secretary of the treasury will always be disposed to support the credit of the state banks, and will invariably direct transfers from the deposites of the public money in aid of their legitimate exertions to maintain their credit, and he asserted a right to employ the state banks when the bank of the United States should refuse to receive on deposite the notes of such state banks as the public interest required should be received in payment of the public dues. In several instances he did transfer the public deposites to state banks, in the immediate vicinity of branches, for reasons connected only with the safety of those banks, the public convenience and the interests of the treasury.
If it was lawful for Mr. Crawford, the secretary of the treasury at that time, to act on these principles, it will be difficult to discover any sound reason against the application of similar principles in still stronger cases. And it is a matter of surprise that a power which, in the infancy of the bank, was freely asserted as one of the ordinary and familiar duties of the secretary of the treasury, should now be gravely questioned, and attempts made to excite and alarm the public mind as if some new and unheard of power