The Journal of Banking
by William M. Gouge,
The Bank Reformer.
The Bank Reformer, (which we had barely room to allude to in our last,) is published at Petersburg, Virginia, by Edmund Ruffin, Sr., the editor of that valuable periodical, the Farmers' Register. In his agricultural publication, Mr. Ruffin has offered many sound and valuable observations on the subject of banking, and has now issued the first number of a periodical intended to be devoted exclusively to the object of bank reform. We most cordially wish him success; and will transmit to him the names of any persons in Philadelphia, who wish to become subscribers to his new work.
The Bank Reformer is to be issued once a month, for six months, certainly. The price is one dollar for three sets of six numbers each, to be directed to one address. Five dollars will pay for two hundred copies of one or more numbers, to be directed by mail or otherwise to any single address; or for one hundred and fifty copies to be directed separately. One dollar will pay for twenty-five copies, if the publisher is allowed to select the numbers, and direct them to a single address.
The form is octavo, sixteen pages in each number, double column.
A leading object of the editor appears to be to produce a resumption of specie payments by the banks of Virgina. Perhaps it will not be an object easily accomplished. A bank officer here, to whom we applied for information as to when the banks of Philadelphia meant to resume, spoke indefinitely of "some time in the next century!" Perhaps he was jesting.
We extract a part of one of the articles in the first number of the Bank Reformer. The remarks may be applicable to other banks, as well as those of Virginia.
"The banks are not getting ready for a return to specie payments, because they expect again to put off the requisition of law for another year; and, according to the rate of their recent progress, they never will be more ready than they were last winter, or the winter before that. The first six months of the present year they have even increased their average paper circulation compared to their specie. And this operation, so treacherous to the object of the law of indulgence, and most unjustifiable in every respect, was so enormous in the Farmers' Bank during the first three months, that its nett profits, (which are of course increased in proportion to the excess of paper over specie,) were as high as 10 per cent. per annum. And so lost to all sense of shame were the authorities of that bank, that the official report, furnished to the newspapers, was prefaced with a boast of this great profit, as if it were a notable evidence of their merit."
The Public Moneys.
The National Intelligencer announces the fact that the public moneys at Washington, have, with considerable formalities, been transferred from the Treasury to the Bank of the Metropolis.
Was this procedure legal ?
The 4th section of the Act of Sept. 2d, 1789, for establishing a Treasury Department, declares that "the Treasurer shall keep the money of the United States, and disburse the same."
There is no law whatever to authorise the deposit of any of the public moneys in banks, except the Act of March 3d, 1809. In the second clause of the fourth section of this Act, it is declared, that "the pay-masters of the army, the military agents, the pursers of the navy, [and agents for the purpose of making contracts, or for the purchase of supplies, or for the disbursement in any other manner of moneys for the use of the military establishment, or for the navy of the United States,] shall, whenever practicable, keep the public moneys in their hands in some incorporated bank, to be designated by the President of the United States." This in the only Act that we know of that sanctions the keeping of public moneys in bank, and this covers only a small part of the amount.
The act for the repeal of the Sub-Treasury Act, if strictly interpreted, prohibits the deposit of the public money in banks, except in those cases specially provided for by the act above quoted of 1809. It makes it a criminal offence in any collecting, disbursing, or other officer, to lend the public moneys.
To deposit the public moneys in any bank, (unless with a special proviso that the moneys so deposited shall be applied to none but public uses,) is to lend the public moneys to the bank. It is done also that the bank may lend them again, and perhaps to the very officer who makes the deposit.
We are starting an important question. While "the pet bank system" is odious, and, as we conceive, justly odious, to the great body of both the political parties into which the nation is divided, it is regarded with an eye of favor by a small clique of politicians, and paper money "financiers." This little clique think that by one party standing out for an Independent Treasury system, and the other party for a National Bank, their favorite "pet bank system" must necessarily be restored. It will be so if usage is to have more force than law.
As the laws now stand, the Treasurer should keep the public moneys at Washington, and the collectors, receivers, and postmasters should keep them in other parts of the country. None but the disbursing officers mentioned in the fourth section of the act of 1809, should make deposits in banks.
Three or four years may elapse before Congress may be able to agree on a new fiscal system. Is usage during all this period to prevail over law ?
The argument in favor of the pet bank system, drawn from usage, is not one which would be admitted as valid in a court of justice. It is not "usage whereunto the memory of man runneth not to the contrary." His memory must be very short indeed, who cannot recollect that within the present year, the public moneys were otherwise kept.
Perhaps it will be urged that it is more convenient to keep the public moneys in banks, than to keep them in the Treasury and in the Custom Houses. But is the law of the land to yield to the convenience of public officers ? In the Treasury Department there is, however, every convenience for the safe keeping of the public money; nor did those Treasury officers, on whom the duty devolved of receiving and paying them out, find any great inconvenience therein. In the new Custom House at New York, where the principal part of the revenue is received, there is, also, every convenience for the safe keeping of the public money. So also is there in most of the other Custom Houses, and in the Land offices.
Will it be urged that the public moneys will be safer in the banks, than in the hands of the public officers ? Three times, within three years, did the greater part of the banks to the south and west of New York, suspend specie payments. That the banks in the city of New York did not, in October, 1839, follow the lead of the United States Bank, was, as we have every reason to believe, owing entirely to the firmness of Mr. Newbold, the president of the Bank of America. If they had yielded, the suspension would have been universal. And who can tell, now, how long the banks of New England and New York will be able to maintain specie payments ? Foreign exchanges are rising, and specie is daily leaving the country. The negotiation of a loan of twelve millions by the Government, has, moreover, a tendency to derange the whole banking movement in the specie paying region. And the bankrupt act, which goes into operation in February next, may have an effect on the banks, which many of the friends of that measure may not have anticipated.
To a system of individual agency in keeping the public moneys, there are, we know, strong objections. But the act for establishing a Treasury Department, gives to the Secretary power to prescribe the manner in which the public moneys will be kept; and he can, by means of Treasury orders, cause a kind of double lock and key and joint responsibility system to be adopted at all the large Custom Houses, and the most important Land Offices. Under such a system, the public moneys would probably be safer than in the banks, especially since a law of the last session makes it a criminal offence in any public officer to apply them to private purposes.
We write not to cast censure on Mr. Ewing, the late Secretary of the Treasury. He, no doubt, thought he was doing right in removing the public money from the Treasury to the Bank of the Metropolis. But it ought to be generally known that there is no law whatever to warrant the revival of "the pet bank system."
Constitutional Fiscal Agency.
In commenting on the plans proposed by Messrs. Ewing and Clay, we expressed a wish that they and their friends would reconsider the subject, and stated that it would be quite possible to establish a fiscal agency which would be free from Constitutional objections. A plan for such an agency we find actually brought forward in The Madisonian, a paper published at Washington, and generally regarded as the organ of the present Administration. The editor says he does not wish to be "understood as endorsing its practicability or its soundness;" by which we are probably to understand that it has not received the sanction of the President and his new Cabinet. Yet, with the objections the President is known to entertain to a corporation as a fiscal agency, we know not what other plan he can recommend than one founded on such principles as are set forth in this communication.
That our readers may have an opportunity of judging of it for themselves, we transfer the article to our own columns. It appears to us to be the only kind of fiscal agency that can be established without violating the Constitution, and departing from the true principles of Government.
It will be seen that an issue of notes forms a part of the plan, but as they would be the representatives of gold and silver actually in deposit, they would be very different from bank notes which are mere bills of credit.
A Fiscal Agent for the Government, and a Currency Agent for the People.
Let Government establish depositaries for the safe keeping of its moneys, at all the important commercial points throughout the Union. Call these depositaries agencies, offices, banks of deposit, sub-treasuries, or any thing else fancy may suggest. Place each of them under the care of three different individuals, one of whom shall be called receiver, another cashier, and the other teller. The receiver should receive, the cashier should keep, and the teller should pay out all moneys deposited. Let each of these officers be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Give to each of them, when necessary, an assistant, who shall act as first book-keeper in his department, and who shall also receive his appointment from the Executive and Senate. If deemed necessary or wise, after full discussion, let the Constitution or law be so amended as to secure to the President, in relation to those officers, the power of temporary suspension, but not of final removal, without the consent of the Senate.
Let the obligations of duty resting upon each and all of them, be of such a character, and so prescribed, as to make them answerable, in some measure, for the misconduct of each, as will compel them to watch, supervise, and check each other, and report delinquencies, when discovered, to head quarters.
Thus far, the interests of the Government alone would be provided for. But the necessities of the people require the agency of some scheme which will furnish them with a national currency, or medium of exchange, of undoubted, substantial, and uniform value. In order to accomplish so high a benefit for the country, it is proposed that Government should cause to be prepared a suitable quantity of certificates of deposit or Treasury notes, in denominations of twenty dollars and upwards, and in convenient forms, and with suitable engravings, for circulation amongst the people. Let these certificates of deposit or Treasury notes, be distributed amongst the different Government depositaries in such proportion as may meet fully the demand for them. Let every citizen throughout the country have the privilege of depositing any amount of specie in these depositaries, and the right accruing thereupon, to demand in exchange for the same, these certificates or notes of Government, payable on demand at the place of deposit in specie, and receivable every where in payment of Government dues and for public lands. This privilege would place it in the power of every individual to convert his local bank notes, when payable in specie, into the National currency, based, dollar for dollar, on the specie deposited, receivable at all points for public dues, endorsed by the highest authority and best guaranty known to the People --that of their own Government.
The quantity of such national currency which would thus be brought into circulation, would be precisely commensurate with the demand for it --no less, and probably no more.
The regulating power over the State banks exerted through the voluntary action of the People, in withdrawing the specie from them, and converting it into the national currency, would prove to be abundantly sufficient: potent beyond resistance. The tendency of this process would be to encourage the introduction and retention of the precious metals, and sustain practically the gold and silver standard of value --a line of its duty which the Government seems studiously and purposely to have avoided from 1791 to 1837. A commendation the most conclusive and decisive in favor of such a scheme of furnishing a national currency is, that it totally excludes the use of the public money by public agents or individuals, the discount of promissory notes, or of bills of exchange, or any other act of loaning money, or granting facilities of credit. It would have no stockholders, lenders, debtors, or borrowers. Newspaper editors, politicians, speculators, stockjobbers, or any other class, could get no accommodations from it. Its issues would be confined to the specie depositor --would be predicated upon and limited by the specie deposits. The specie deposits, under the operations of trade and business, would be fully equal to the just wants of the country for a currency, especially a national currency. When deposited, the specie would be represented in the business of the country by the best and most truthful representative that could be devised.
Under such a system, the productive labor of the country would be the money-creating, the money-making power. The money power would be separated from the political power. The money power grows out of the right, the power to use money; and the use of money, public or private, is totally prohibited and excluded from the operations of the system. The Government would simply become the keeper of the treasure of the nation, and in its issue of certificates or notes to individuals would incur no other obligations than such as would be incident to a bank of deposit, or to its character of keeper of such moneys.
This relation to the public would afford the most effective facilities for borrowing money in war and all public emergencies. Proposals from the Government to exchange its stock, bearing a reasonable rate of interest, for its certificates or notes in circulation, would be readily embraced by money-holders. The result would be, the funding of such certificates or notes by the Government, and the immediate possession and use of the specie originally deposited in exchange for them; a greater facility and more prompt mode of realizing cash in any emergency, than could be afforded by any other scheme yet devised.
An indispensable feature in the scheme would be the collection of the public dues exclusively in specie, and the certificates and notes of Government issued in exchange therefor. Any connection with local banks, or the banking system, is totally excluded from the scheme. No other banking operation would be necessary than the transfer from point to point, for Government purposes, of the certificates or notes of Government received in payment for public dues. Or if Government paper should be more valuable, and individuals should prefer to pay their dues to Government in specie, no transfer of such funds would be necessary, inasmuch as checks drawn by Government upon specie deposits at the commercial points of the country, would generally be more valuable than the specie itself, and consequently readily received in payment of Government debts by Government creditors. In this scheme all constitutional objections are avoided --no Fiscal Corporation or Bank of Discount is established.
A Fiscal Agent for the Government, and a Currency Agent for the people is provided, with unlimited capacity to do good, and no power to do harm.
A national currency of the highest possible value and credit, fully commensurate with the resources, the uses and necessities of the whole country, would be the certain and inevitable result of its operations.
The above brief outline of a system of joint fiscal and currency agency is submitted to the consideration of the Administration of John Tyler and of the people of the United States, by
A Member of the 27th Congress.
Washington, September, 1841.
Constitutional Fiscal Agency.
Against the fiscal system which was proposed by A Member of Congress, through The Madisonian, and copied by us into our seventh number, we have seen the following objections in the public prints, or heard them brought forward in private conversation.
1st. "The plan does not embrace a credit currency." -- This is, in our view, one of its chief merits. Credit is an excellent thing in every form except that of credit money. Then it becomes highly pernicious.
2nd. "It will crush the banks." -- This is always the cry when any thing is proposed that is likely to give stability to our money system. But it is not true that it would crush the banks. The Government certificates of specie in deposit in the Treasury offices, would be of as much avail to the banks as specie in their own vaults.
3rd. "The money deposited would be liable to be lent clandestinely, as was the money deposited in the old Bank of Amsterdam. Then taxation must be resorted to in order to make good the deficiency."
The answer to this, is, that the losses that the old Bank of Amsterdam sustained, were owing to its operations being carried on with secrecy, as are to the present day the operations of the Banks of Hamburg and Bremen. Secrecy is one of the principles of European polity: publicity of American. With an adequate system of inspection, it would be almost impossible that losses should occur through clandestine loans of the money.
4th. "The Treasury officers would issue certificates when there would be no money deposited with them." This is a fraud which might be easily perpetrated under a system of individual agency. But the system proposed by A Member of Congress is one of joint responsibility. At each office he proposes that there shall be three officers, whose duty it shall be to watch one another. The three must combine to effect a fraud of this kind, and the authorities at Washington must connive at it. The blank certificates of deposit, would be prepared at the Treasury at Washington, and the officers of the subordinate offices would be held as strictly accountable for these certificates, as they would for the money deposited with them.
5th. "The plan is unconstitutional." Then the Government has acted unconstitutionally in acting as trustee for the Smithsonian Institute, and as trustee for the funds belonging to the different Indian tribes. If the plan proposed by A Member of Congress should be adopted, the Government would be a mere trustee of the funds deposited in its offices, and the certificates would be mere evidences of its trusteeship.
6th. "The people are quite competent to the task of keeping their own money." Certainly. But it would be a great convenience to many of the people, to have a place wherein they could deposit their specie, with an assurance that it would neither be lent nor used; receiving a certificate with which they could draw their money out again, or, pay a debt due to Government in any part of the Union.
With all our objections to credit money, we have always thought there would be a great convenience in paper which would represent gold and silver actually in deposit. And with all our objections to incorporated paper money banks, we have always thought that hard money banks would be highly useful.
In such times as we have now, and such times as we are likely to have, certificates which would represent gold and silver actually in deposit, and which would be receivable every where in payment of public dues, would be productive of much advantage. The high rate of exchange which now prevails between different parts of the Union, is not solely owing to the banks having suspended payments. It is owing in part to confidence between man and man having been so shaken, that no one knows whom it is safe to trust. When the bankrupt law begins to operate, confidence will, in all probability, be still further shaken.
In all events, we should like to we a plan adopted, through which individuals having payments to make to Government, might be allowed to make these payments at points convenient both to Government and themselves. Where is the sense of compelling an emigrant who lands at Detroit or St. Louis, to carry his money with him to a land office some hundred miles in the interior, when that very money must be brought back to St. Louis or Detroit before it can be applied to the public service? Where even is the sense of compelling him to carry it beyond New York or Philadelphia ? Why not suffer him to deposit his money in some public office in one of the Atlantic cities, and with the certificates pay for the land he may purchase ? For want of an arrangement of this kind, many emigrants are now exposed to great inconvenience. Some of them sew their gold in girdles, which they fasten round their bodies, under their clothes, and in this way travel between one and two thousand miles. In a late steamboat disaster on Lake Erie, about 180,000 dollars in specie, principally the property of emigrants, went to the bottom. Few of the bodies of the Swiss women passengers rose to the surface, owing to the quantity of specie that was sewed in their clothing.
We allude to this case, only as a strong evidence of the practice which prevails among emigrants, and of the great inconvenience to which they are subjected, from the want of some such arrangement as is proposed by A Member of Congress.
The Union Canal
By the funding of our revolutionary debt, and the subsequent sale of the stock in Europe, a considerable amount of money was brought into the country; but, as we have been told by the old people, it added but little to the solid wealth of the community. The speculators spent it all in riotous living, or employed it in injudicious undertakings.
Among these were three canals; for, finishing one internal improvement before commencing another, was as little in accordance with the wisdom of that day as it is with the wisdom of our own. One of these was to connect the Delaware and Chesapeake. After expending a large amount of money on it, it was abandoned. It was some miles north of the present canal across the peninsula. The second was a canal to connect the Schuylkill with the Delaware. Those who are curious in antiquities, can still discover some marks of the excavations then made in the neighborhood of Fair Mount and Lemon Hill. All the money spent on the old Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, and the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal, was a dead loss.
The third of the undertakings of that day was a canal to unite the Schuylkill and Susquehanna. This was completed, so far as to admit the passage of boats, some thirty years after it was begun. It is known as the Union Canal. It has been nursed in every possible way by the State, but nursed in vain. After straggling with many difficulties, the Company has made an assignment. Debts, only $1,700,000.
The True Principles of Commercial Banking.
We intermit our observations on this subject, in expectation of receiving from a friend some particulars in the history of a bank in one of the eastern States. This bank, as we have understood, was conducted on commercial principles for more than twenty years, and during that time made but one bad debt, and that amounting to only fifty dollars. It then changed its mode of business, and began to lend its credit, to speculators in town lots, builders of factories, &c., &c. The consequence was, that in about six months' time, it became seriously embarrassed, and in less than two years was compelled to stop specie payments.
The State Debts.
The disease under which this country is laboring is debt --debt in every form--private debt public debt, bank debt, municipal debt, State debt.
From a small pamphlet published at the office of the New York Evening Post, we transfer to our own columns a table showing the extent in which one claim of debts, namely, State debts, have in a short period been augmented, and their aggregate amount at the commencement of the present year. Since that time, the sum has been considerably increased.
The foundation of the British funded debt was laid at the revolution in 1688. It took twenty-six years, (and those mostly years of war,) to raise it to two hundred million dollars. But in Great Britain there was but one Government engaged in the business of borrowing. In the United States we have between twenty and thirty Governments all borrowing to the full extent of their ability.
In Great Britain, too, it should be recollected, that there was at the time above referred to, but one incorporated paper money bank, to help the nation in running into debt. In the United States we have nine hundred such institutions. It is chiefly through their instrumentality that the amount of our public debt has been so rapidly augmented.
Great part of this debt has in fact been created for the establishment of banks. Most of the rest of it we owe to the facility with which bank promises to pay on demand, can be exchanged for State promises to pay at some future day.
The process is a very easy one, and for a time it was a very pleasant one, especially to those contractors who had "good, fat jobs" on the public works. But now the people at large must bear the burden. Taxation must be resorted to, or the credit of the States be dishonored. The rail roads and canals for which most of this debt has been incurred, will not, taking the country throughout, yield revenue enough to keep them in repair, and pay the expenses of superintendence.
An an appendix to the table of State Debts, we give a statement of the debts of our principal cities, extracted from the pamphlet mentioned above, but corrected in regard to the amount of the debt of the city of Philadelphia. It is set down in the pamphlet as one million dollars. We have ascertained, by inquiry at the City Treasurer's office, that it was, on the first of January last, more than twice that amount.
But the city proper of Philadelphia, includes but a small part of that collection of houses known abroad as "Philadelphia." Contiguous to the city proper on the north, are the incorporated districts of the Northern Liberties and Spring Garden, and contiguous to the Northern Liberties, is Kensington. On the south are Southwark and Moyamensing. On the west, separated from the city proper by the river Schuylkill, is the borough of West Philadelphia.
Each of these municipalities has its distinct debt; and the Board of Guardians of the Poor has its distinct debt, as has also, if we mistake not, the Board of Health. The County has, besides, a debt which is far from inconsiderable; and as there are many municipalities in the county, besides those mentioned above, it is rational to presume that they have their debts also. At some moment of leisure, (if we ever have such a moment,) we will endeavor to sum them all up. "The Credit System," to which the debt system is a correlative, is much in favor with a part of the population of Philadelphia.
The arguments in favor of running States and Cities into debt, to a moderate extent, are sometimes very plausible. But it is so difficult to observe moderation, where the ability to borrow is great, that we have sometimes thought that, in so far as regards States and Cities, it would be better if "the credit system" were abolished entirely.
On the amount of private debts that can be incurred there is a limit, because in the case of private debts there will be, sooner or later, a demand for payment of principal as well as of interest. On public debt there is no such limit. So long as the interest is punctually paid, there will be no demand for the principal. Hence the ability of States and Cities to run into debt, and hence their liability to abuse the beautiful "credit system."
In Great Britain no municipality can run into debt beyond a certain amount, without the sanction of a special act of Parliament. And as the trouble of passing a bill through Parliament is great, and the expense attendant thereon far from inconsiderable, the debts of the British cities are small when compared with those of the American.
Gold and Silver.
Mr. Shields, of Alabama, in a speech in the House of Representatives, at Washington, on the 7th of August last, taking Humboldt and McCulloch for his guide, estimates the "aggregate supply of the precious metals at this time in the world appropriated to the use of man," at upwards of seven thousand million dollars.
"The consumption," he remarks, "of the precious metals in the manufacture of plate, jewelry, ornaments, and for all the purposes of luxury and extravagance to which they are devoted, is the result of the vast supply of those metals existing in the world. The quantity estimated to be employed in administering to these vain desires and luxurious propensities of the human heart, in Europe and America, is one hundred and fifty per cent. greater than the whole amount of currency, including both paper and coin, used in those two sections of the world. It is plain, then, that a demand for gold and silver for purposes of currency and exchange in the United States, would be supplied to any possible extent, with the utmost facility and certainty. The whole amount obtained would finally be withdrawn from these luxurious uses, without any effect upon the commerce and trade of the world, and, indeed, with little or no effect upon them.
"If the thirty-three millions of coin in the vaults of the banks of this Union on the 1st day of January last were thrown into circulation, and every bank note in the Union burnt up or banished from circulation, it would require but the one-hundredth part of the stock of gold and silver now in use in the world to supply the country with an amount of metallic money equal to the whole amount of paper then or now in circulation. To have made such an allegation as this a short time since, would have served but to excite the ridicule and derision of those who thought they were very wise; and yet, sir, it is true beyond the possibility of doubt or cavil."
Circular.Addressed to the readers of the Journal of Banking in particular, and to the American people in general.
Presuming that in the United States there are many thousand voters, who, if they could vote upon the naked question, "shall promises to pay money pass as money ?" would vote that they should not, the writer of this enters not into any argument on the subject. The men whom he addresses are already convinced. They are certain of two things, viz: that such promises ought not to pass as money; and that their votes to that effect, if they do any good, do but little. They are certain of another thing, that monopoly legislation and monopolies, are daily extending amongst a deluded, or an enduring people, their vast, their pernicious influence.
In Philadelphia, about fifty friends have formed an Association, which is continually increasing in members. This Association will oppose the creation of all new monopolies by any and every means in its power to devise or to use. When there is nothing particularly requiring action, its members will debate and lecture upon the popular paper-bank, and indirect tax delusions of the day. They hope to be useful in causing their fellow men to think. The advocates of monopolies will be welcome at meetings; their arguments will be heard and weighed, and wherever truth is, it is believed knowledge will not be far from her.
Fellow citizens of Pennsylvania! of the Union ! Form Associations to oppose monopoly. Debates, lectures, and correspondence will yet enable a deluded people to shake off the fetters which incorporated privileges, greatly abused, fasten on them.
It requires but few to begin this work in their own State, county, city, town, or village. Reader, you can commence it. But one person commenced the movement in Philadelphia, and that under every discouragement, and despite the sneers of those who professed to love the principle.
The plan of the Association, in other words the manner in which it proposes to effect the triumph of the anti-monopoly principle over the monopoly one, is very easily understood. It is incorporated in the Constitution. A copy of this Constitution and any information wanted by any person or number of persons, in any part of the Union, will be sent to him or them, cheerfully.
Correspondents will please address, (postage paid,) "The Anti-Chartered Monopoly Association, No. 1, Philadelphia."
James M. Davis, 499 Market St.,
Mr. Wm.McK. Ball, the cashier of the branch bank of the State of Arkansas, Fayetteville, has returned from Texas. He pronounces the charge that he is a defaulter, a bare-faced falsehood, and declares his intention to ferret out the authors of the slander, and promises that, if successful, they shall be dealt with in proper style, let them be great or small.
The Commissioners say they have found all the books of this bank that were alledged to have been stolen. "They are legible with the exception of that which contained the cash transactions of the bank, the exchanges, and other important entries. This book, when found, had all the pages containing entries cut out, and thereby precluded the ability of an accurate investigation within the limits of service contemplated by our commission. The ledger, when found, was so much mutilated, as to afford no information whatever."
It would be quite possible for one bank officer to commit a default, and then so arrange matters as to cast suspicion on another. The high regard entertained for Mr. Ball in his native State, Delaware, and in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he completed his professional education, is certainly a strong presumption in favor of his innocence.
The President of the Carrollton Bank, New Orleans, states that there is no foundation whatever for the report that the Cashier of that institution is a defaulter in the amount of 30,000 dollars.
A young man named Whiting, formerly a clerk in the Gallipolis Bank, has been arrested at Boston, and carried to Ohio, to answer a charge of having carried off a portion of the funds of the bank. He says he is innocent, and perhaps he is so.
We gave in our last a statement that two bank clerks at Columbus, Georgia, had proved defaulters to a large amount, and a counter statement by the cashier that the bank was fully secured.
It now said that one of the clerks, was, after committing the default, made cashier of the Western Bank at Rome, and covered deficits in one bank by transferring to it funds from the other. The Bank of Rome was not strengthened by this operation.
Town, the defaulting teller of the Jacksonville branch of the State Bank at Illinois, escaped from prison on the night of the 13th of September.
A "shaving institution" known as the Exchange Bank of Indianapolis, Indiana, stopped payment on the 15th of September. The precise amount of its trash in circulation, is not known, but it is believed to be very considerable.
One of the directors of the State Bank of Indiana, once told us that we had not in our "History and Inquiry" revealed all the mysteries of the craft. He then went on to describe a method of making money, by transfers of funds from the State Bank to insurance companies, and other institutions, which latter lent the money at usurious rates of interest. The failure of the Exchange Bank at Indianapolis, will afford the people of Indiana a fair opportunity of tracing out the connection between the State Bank, or some of its officers, and the "shaving institutions" in which their State abounds.
Through the failure of the German Bank, Wooster, Ohio, (of which mention was made in our last,) many a farmer has been deprived of the product of great part of the last year's labor, and many a laborer of the funds necessary for the support of his family.
The West Union Bank, it is said, will soon explode; and fears are entertained of the failure of other banks in Ohio.