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Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized, with the consent of the President, to cause to be prepared certificates of stock, signed by the Secretary and countersigned by the Register of the Treasury, for the sum to be borrowed, or any part thereof, bearing an interest not exceeding six per centum per annum, and transferable and reimbursable as aforesaid, and to cause the said certificates of stock to be sold: Provided, That no stock be sold below par.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized to receive proposals for taking the said loan, or to employ an agent or agents for the purpose of negotiating the same, and to pay to him or them a reasonable commission, not exceeding one-tenth of one per cent. on the amount so negotiated, which sum to be allowed to such agent or agents, and such expense as may be necessarily incurred in printing and issuing certificates of stock, and other expenses incident to the due execution of this act, in all not exceeding twelve thousand dollars, which sum is hereby appropriated for that purpose, and shall be paid out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized to purchase, at any time before the period herein limited for the redemption of stock hereby authorized, such portion thereof as the funds of the Government may admit of, after meeting all the demands on the Treasury, and any surplus in the Treasury is hereby appropriated to that object.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the faith of the United States be, and is hereby, pledged for the punctual payment of the interest and redemption of said stock.
APPROVED, July 21, 1841.
What was future President H.A. Lincoln doing in those halcyon days ?
In 1839 he already gave a speech against the Sub-Treasury; because, as Mr. Clay stated (in 1841), the rubbish had to be cleared away before the central Fiscal Bank could be established.
How about future Secretary of the Treasury, Portland Chase ?
Since 1832 he had been attorney for the Bank of the United States; where he learned everything he knew about banking, central banking, national banking, and national currency.
What of future Police Minister William Seward ?
In 1840, during the election campaign, Mr. Seward busied himself as professional liar for the Whig Party.
As a New York State Senator, on January 31, 1832, he made an elaborate defense of the Bank of the United States.
Seward was counsel for Erastus Corning, a large capitalist of Albany who was the head of the projectors of the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Company which, in 1854, by fraud and corruption obtained from Congress an extensive land grant of 900,000 acres.
In 1862 Erastus Corning was Representative from New York, and member of the Sub-Committe of the Committee of Ways and Means, entrusted with producing a National Currency bank bill, making of loans, issue of Treasury notes (H.R. 240), bonds, and the mode of raising the means to carry on the war.
What of future grand old commoner, Thaddeus Stevens ?
Since 1824, Stevens had been one of Nicholas Biddle's attorneys. In 1861 this bank-lawyer became Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means.
Through patriotic and prudent management the debt of the Federal government was extinguished by 1835. Not to worry, the member States were diligent, and some of them contracted more debt (for internal improvements) than the General government. In 1841 Henry Clay, John Sergeant and the Whig crew swept into power and set upon the country in hot haste to change this deplorable situation --for "the day of judgment is come" thundered Mr. Clay (mentor of H.A. Lincoln). They took out a 12million dollar federal loan to pay some of the debts of member States; passed a law to distribute to member States the revenue from land sales. The result: by 1844 the Federal government owed $20million, and the United States have NOT been debt-free since !!!
The People's Democratic Guide
The following are some of the patriots who are urging on a civil war because the people will not recharter the British Bank.
Look at them ! This is the way Nicholas Biddle pays the public servants:
Lawyer Clay's fees, ........ $40,000
Lawyer Sergeant's fees, ...... 40,000
Lawyer Webster's fees and loans, ...... 58,000
Lawyer Johnston's loans ......... 36,000
Lawyer Poindexter's loans ...... 10,000
House of RepresentativesThursday, July 8, 1841.
On motion of Mr. Fillmore, the House again resolved itself into Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, [Mr. Briggs of Massachusetts in the chair] on the bill authorizing a loan not exceeding twelve millions of dollars.
The pending question being on the motion to strike out the enacting clause of the bill
Mr. Pickens inquired of the chairman if any member was entitled to the floor.
The Chair said that he believed no member held it.
Mr. Pickens then addressed the committee, in opposition to the bill. He did not design to trespass for any length of time on the attention of the committee. He knew that there was a great disposition to hurry through this bill, and he knew also that there was a very great indisposition in the House to consider bills of this character. For the time he had been a member of that body, he had been struck with the remarkable fact that on all money bills there was more apathy and indifference, and less consideration, than on any other measures. He knew not why it was so. If there was any measure more important than another it was that which related to the finances of the country, to the raising of the ways and means to meet the expenditures of the Government. We had been taught to believe that nothing was more important in Government affairs than the taxing power. It might be a prejudice; but, if so, they had inherited it from their ancestors and the proudest associations of our own time. It had always been considered the test of Liberty here and in Great Britain.
The bill now before the committee, although nominally a bill to borrow money, was in fact a bill to lay taxes on the community, for the purpose of meeting the loan. The great question now was, whether such loan be necessary, under existing circumstances; and the great question for after consideration was, How was it to be paid ? How were we to lay a tax to meet the demands which may be created by the loan ? Every people had a peculiar criterion by which to judge of liberty. The English people had always judged of the powers of Government by all measures connected with the revenues of the Government. The line which separated the powers of the Government from private property, was the line which defined English Liberty. That was what defined English liberty, both across the water and in this country.
The French supposed the mass to be free, if the mob rose and turned out one dynasty and put in another. But it was manifest that the true and real mode by which to judge of the privileges of the people, was the power they had to restrain taxation by Government; and it was this consideration which made the measure now proposed one of deep and vital importance to the tax paying portion of the community.
The measure was part of the system which lay at the bottom of this Government; it lay at the origin of the Government; and, for the last four years, had been the source of a bitter and violent contest throughout this country. His opinion was, too, that this measure did not arise from a temporary necessity, but was intended as a system as a whole. And let not gentlemen ridicule the notions which we have upon the subject. The gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. Underwood] ridiculed State Rights authority. Mr. Pickens had known many instances in which gentlemen had denounced as humbuggery that which they had not the faculty to comprehend.
Mr. Pickens then proceeded to argue that we had a peculiar Government, differing from any other on this very point of taxation. That there were no countries which even approached to it in its fiscal operation, except France and Russia; that, owing to our local interests, our extent of territory, and variety of climate, Great Britain could raise two hundred millions by tax, and disburse it over her small territory without producing any material effect on the resources or the national wealth of that country, where we could not raise fifty millions. And it was not to be wondered at, therefore, that there was a natural sensitiveness here in regard to the fiscal operations of the Government, the tendency of which was to make one portion of our territory contribute to the revenue, and another to receive it. This was the great difference between the Government of the United States and that of Great Britain, and this was the cause of the power and immense fiscal resources of the latter nation. And here was the fatal error into which gentlemen who sustained this system of measures had fallen; they had taken their example from England, from English institutions and English principles and customs, and they attempted to apply it to us to a people totally different in every respect.
After illustrating this argument, Mr. Pickens said, what he desired was, that gentlemen should pause and consider what they were about. Let them not revive a system which Alexander Hamilton and his associates very patriotically at that time engrafted upon our Government in its first stages, when they believed the Federal Government to be too weak an opinion originating in an honest error. But those who now opposed this system of measures did so because they firmly believed that the tendency of them was to injure the country to produce ill-feeling and sectional jealousy, which would, in the end, result in a dissolution of the Union. Not that he male any threat of that kind, not that he was disposed to go to that length, or to any thing looking towards it. He looked to the progress of things. We were treading on dangerous ground, and the people never would submit tamely to the unjust and unequal operation of this Government. Not, he repeated, that he would resist, but the tendency of these things was to produce the results he had spoken of.
Mr. Pickens then referred to the attempt to arraign parties, which, he said, had been made yesterday by the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, [Mr. Fillmore]. Mr. Pickens deprecated any effort of the kind, and would not, he said, follow the example which had been set in that respect.
The House was now presented in a remarkable attitude before the country. Only two days since, a bill had been passed, which took three millions of dollars from the regular revenue, and then immediately afterwards came the naked proposition to borrow twelve millions of dollars. Did gentlemen suppose that the tax-paying portion of the people would not inquire into the matter ? that they would not ask why it was that we distributed the revenue of the country with one hand, and with the other laid an additional tax upon the people ? Such a proposition never had been presented to a deliberative assembly.
Mr. Pickens then laid down the position that there was not the slightest necessity for a loan at all, and, to sustain this position, examined with great minuteness the report and estimates of the Secretary of the Treasury made at the present session, comparing them with estimates made by himself, with a view of ascertaining what the present and prospective wants of the Treasury were. His calculations had brought him to a result the correctness of which he believed to be demonstrable that no loan was needed.
But Mr. Pickens contended that even if the views he had taken of the wants of the Government and the means of supplying those wants, was not correct, the Whig party, it was to be remembered, had come in upon principles of reform. He went with the gentleman from Maryland, [Mr. Sollers] who had said that reform was one of the verdicts of the people; and that the Representatives of the people were called upon to enter up their judgment. He [Mr. Pickens] called this House to enter up the judgment of economy and reform, instead of going further and deeper into public expenditures than any other Administration which had preceded this, as it was now proposed to do.
Mr. Pickens proceeded, in the next place, to point out the items of expenditure which might, without the least injury to the interests of the Government or to the public service, suffer retrenchment. He quoted the report of the Secretary of the Treasury of December 9, 1840; from it he took the several items, and then stated how much, in his opinion, each might be reduced. The result of the first branch of this reduction of particulars was a sum to be retrenched amounting to $852,000.
He next went into the items of pensions, the Florida war, and the expenditures of Congress; on these, with a few minor ones in addition, he estimated that there might, without injury, be a saving of four millions.
Mr. Pickens had gotten thus far in his subject, and was just about to enter into a comparison of the relative advantages of a loan and of Treasury notes, when
The Chair here reminded Mr. Pickens that his hour had expired.
Mr. Pickens. The hour out ?
The Chair. Yes, sir.
Mr. Pickens. (Looking at his watch.) Bless my soul ! Have I run my race ?
Mr. Holmes asked whether his colleague had not taken ten minutes for explanations.
Mr. Warren desired that the rule be enforced.
Mr. Pickens denied that the House had any constitutional right to pass such a rule.
The Chair again reminded Mr. Pickens that be had spoken an hour.
Mr. Pickens would, then, conclude by saying it was the most infamous rule ever passed by any legislative body.
Mr. J.G. Floyd of New York said the gentleman had been frequently interrupted, and had, therefore, a right to continue his remarks.
The Chair delivered a contrary opinion.
Mr. Floyd appealed from his decision.
The Chair then rose to put the question, whether the decision of The Chair should stand as the judgment of the House when
Mr. Floyd withdrew his appeal.
Mr. Dawson suggested whether The Chair had not possibly made a mistake with respect to the time.
The Chair said there was no mistake.
Mr. Pickens then gave notice that he would offer an amendment.
The Chair remarked that the gentleman was not in order.
Mr. Pickens said that if the motion to strike out the enacting clause should prevail, he would move to amend the bill by introducing a substitute, giving ample means to the Treasury, by avoiding the evils of which he complained in the bill now under consideration.
Mr. Sergeant [John Sergeant, Penn., Whig; Chairman of Ways and Means; studied law, admitted to the bar; in 1816 voted AGAINST the chartering of the Bank of the U.S.] followed, but from the low tone in which he spoke, a great portion of his remarks was inaudible. He remarked that the late Administration had had possession of the Government down to the evening of the 3d of March last, and had gone out of power leaving the Government minus to the amount of twelve millions of dollars. This, of course, had been through a mistake it must have been for it could never have been the intention of those recently in power that the Government should not be carried on; but, as they left it no means to do so, it must of course stop, or go limping and halting miserably along during the rest of the year and that during a very critical period in the history of the country. By no one has this critical state of our affairs been more loudly or extensively proclaimed to the world than by the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Pickens]. He had made it known, not only throughout this country, but he had led the people of England to believe that war with the United States was inevitable; and, so far had this impression been produced, that even our Mediterranean squadron had been notified that, looking to the state of high excitement which prevailed in England as well as on this side the water, and especially at the high tone of feeling existing in this House, as manifested by the gentleman's report, the idea of avoiding a war was entirely out of the question; and, in consequence, they had hastened to get out of the Straits of Gibraltar into the open ocean, and one never stopped till she had actually come all the way home. The country, then, had been, it seemed, on the brink of a war when this mistake had been committed; and it seemed, too, that the fear of a war was as great a mistake as the providing no means to meet it, for, by some stop-cock or safety valve, all this high pressure excitement had been quietly drawn off, and the unlucky vessel, after returning across the entire width of the ocean, had returned quietly back to her station.
Mr. Sergeant insisted that this course, on the part of the late Administration, could have been nothing but a mistake, for, if the honorable chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations [Mr. Pickens] was right, and all the world was right in what they had concluded from his report, (and the impression then produced had never been out of sight in England till the disturbance of her own elections at home had put it out of her thoughts,) and war had actually been so near at hand, the Administration never could have dreamed of leaving their country without armour of defence, or a dollar to meet the emergency. But what had happened in the meanwhile ? A change of Administration. And who made it ? The people of the United States. How was it made ? Under the provisions of the Constitution. And what for ? Because they chose it; that was a sufficient reason, nor was the sovereign power bound to give any other. The people chose to change the Administration, and they did change it; but the country was not changed, or the interests of the country, or the relations between the Government and the people. Not at all. These remained just as they had been the duty on the one hand to provide the ways and means, and the duty on the other to take care of the Union. The Union was our country. Mr. Sergeant never had had any other; nor would he ever acknowledge any other; and he never would submit to have his country taken from him. And this, he believed, was the sober determination of the people of the Union.
If ever there was a time when all who loved the country were called to hold fast the truth that the Union is our country, it was immediately after the utterance to the world of such a report as that of the gentleman, when its language threatened us with a war in which every power and every resource we possessed must be taxed to the utmost. And what had been the cause of such a mistake as had been committed by the gentleman and his friends in power ? For what had been the history of the past ? The ordinary revenue had all been spent, and from six to eight millions a year besides, amounting in all to thirty-one millions. Where did the money come from ? How was this state of things hidden from the people ? In the first place, whatever had come into their hands had been used for the purposes of Government; and then came a called session in September, 1837, which ended in giving the power to issue Treasury notes. To be sure, there had been one happy result from the exercise of this power, and only one it had brought the Government more in sympathy with the country than any other measure of that Administration, for the whole country had been deluged with promissory notes of every possible description; and now the Government was no longer out of the fashion, they issued this Government paper without delay; and for what ? Only to live upon for a few days; that they would have plenty of money to-morrow; and then they would all be paid off. How did it usually fare with an individual who pursued the same plan in his private affairs ? He got his note discounted, and thought no more of it for sixty days; in the meantime the money was spent; and then, when the sixty days were out, he gave a new note and paid the discount.
It happened just so with the Government. At every new batch of Treasury notes the same song was sung in the ears of Congress: "We only want it for a short time; funds will come in, and all will be right." And thus matters proceeded until the Government had issued to the tune of thirty-one millions of dollars. Of this amount it had paid, if payment it might be called, twenty-two millions, and nine millions remained still outstanding, though five millions had been all that was asked for at first, and that only to meet the irregularity of the yearly income, which was deficient in one part of the year, but was to be redundant in the other. What had been the intermediate history of the Treasury ? These issues of Treasury notes had been renewed four times until it was now growing into a habit of the Government, and it was high time it should be checked. We had had outstanding at one time, in 1838, no less than ten millions in this Treasury paper, and there remained nine millions out still. Was this no public debt ? Oh, no. There was no public debt. None at all. It was this new Administration which was going to plunge the country into debt.
Something had been said yesterday about "juggling;" and many a man had juggled himself in this very way. But were the people to be juggled into the belief that they were not in debt when these notes were out for nine millions of dollars ? Was a debt any less a debt because it had but 30 days to run, rather than ten years ? No; but the difference between them might be, that in one case the debt hid itself from view. Under the system of Treasury notes to take up Treasury notes, one set on the back of another, it was unknown to the country how much it was in debt at any one time. The debt was kept out of sight, and the people were boldly told that there was no national debt. And then, when a new Administration came into power, and, looking into the actual balance due, proposed to settle it in an open manner, admitting its whole extent, and seeking means whereby to meet and to discharge it, then it was at once said, "Oh, this is the new Administration that is going into debt; under the good old times we were not in debt but no sooner do these people get into power, than their first act is to plunge the nation into debt !"
Now so far, the Treasury note power still survived; a loan only went to change the form of the debt and, as Mr. Sergeant thought, to change it for the better. The complaint, in fact, amounted to this: "You do not do as we did." Well, what did you do? pay the debt ? No, you did not. If you had, we should not now have to provide for paying it. You went in debt, and left your debt to us, with nothing to pay it. That is what you did. And if the country is in debt under this new Administration, whose fault is it ? The fault of those stewards who were entrusted with the revenue heretofore. They spent all the revenue, and six or eight millions a year besides.---[Everything you know, you learned from the bankers: if the State issues a note promising to pay (coin) that is bad; if a bank issues a promise to pay (without any coin to fulfill that promise) that is sound finance for you]
The whole charge against us comes to this, that finding a debt on hand, we have not chosen to issue our notes for it, but prefer to give a bond. [and just what the fuck is a bond, if not an evidence of debt, the same as a Treasury note; except, that a Treasury note cannot be used by bankers as capital, based on which to issue their own notes, in the practice of fractional reserve, issuing their own notes multiplied on the bonds] What course can be more open, upright, honest, if the creditor is willing ? But in the present case there is a third party to be consulted, and that is the people of the United States. We are for doing what is right and just, and doing it in such a way as all the people can understand. Here is no fog; no mystification; we speak plain English, that all can understand; and the people will be able to judge, at the end of the period of which bond has run, which course is the most manly and the wisest.---["honest" and "manly" !!? Did the bankers give 12 million coins for your 12 million bonds ?! fuck no; they gave you their notes !]
Mr. Sergeant said he had in view when he rose to notice one or two of the remarks of the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Pickens] which, on account of the principle they contained, were of much more consequence than the fate of the bill. That gentleman was in the habit, on all occasion, of going back to first principles, as he understood them; principles which, traced to their consequences, struck at the root of the Union, and at the perpetuity of the Constitution. The gentleman's doctrines went to the principles on which alone this Government could be administered. If the gentleman was correct, the Constitution ought never to have been adopted, never to have been framed; it is not an instrument fit to be adopted in the Government of this country; and the Union itself is founded in injustice, and ought to be dissolved. What was the gentleman's doctrine, succinctly stated ? As Mr. Sergeant understood him, it amounted to this: that all taxes ought to be expended where they were raised.
Mr. Pickens here interposed. Oh no, I did not say that, I said that in a country possessing such an extensive territory, and embracing such diversified interests as ours, the raising of taxes and their expenditure was a vital question. Not that we object to the raising of taxes, but that the fact of their being raised by a general demand, and expended in a particular direction makes us look with great solicitude at the manner in which the revenue is managed. I said that owing to the different nature of the British Government, that Government could more easily raise and expend two hundred millions than we could fifty.
Mr. Sergeant resumed. There was a limitation in the taxing power in the Constitution; Mr. Sergeant knew of no other. If what Mr. Pickens now stated, viz. that the taxes were raised in one place and expended in another, was valid objection to the raising of taxes, then the Constitution ought to be altered.
Mr. Pickens again explained. He had not urged this as a reason why taxes should not be raised, but why the power to raise them should be watched with zealous care.
Mr. Sergeant said it came to the same thing at last: either the gentleman's argument was an argument for a tax or against a tax, or it was no argument at all. Mr. Sergeant knew that it was not an argument for a tax, therefore it must be against laying taxes, and so an argument out of the Constitution and against the Constitution. If the fact that taxes being raised in one place and spent in another was an argument against laying a tax, then it came to this that all taxes ought to be expended where they were raised. The passage quoted by the gentleman had contained this very objection: "that people out of Virginia had power to tax the people in Virginia."
Mr. Pickens said he had quoted those words, but not with approbation.
Mr. Sergeant reminded the committee that the gentleman had said that this (viz. that taxes raised in one part of the country were expended in another) was the ground of our controversy with England, and its resistance ended in our independence. Now, Mr. Sergeant would ask any gentleman if he had ever heard or read that this was the ground of our quarrel with England. No; the ground of that quarrel had been, that while we were taxed we were not represented at all.
Mr. Pickens. Exactly; that is just what I said. [A laugh.]
Mr. Sergeant said they would soon come to the end of the argument. If this Union was to be preserved, the Representative body must be collected from different parts of the Union; unless, indeed, one State, from her greater power, or wealth, or patriotism, or bravery, claimed to be herself the representative body. [A laugh.] Then what was the next consideration ? A country of this extent could not be a pure democracy, where all the people assemble to consult and to make the laws; they must act through representatives. If free, it must be a representative republic. The representatives must come from different portions of the community, else it would not be a popular Government; and they must be in proportion to the number of the people, else it could not be a popular representation. If gentlemen could show that this Government ought to represent property, and so to be an aristocracy, or to represent a privileged class, and so to be an oligarchy, let them come out boldly and say so, and then their reasons should be examined. But, in the meantime, Mr. Sergeant said that the gentleman's argument was an argument against the Constitution and against the Union; it was against a representative republic; and if there could be a greater political heresy imagined, he knew not what it was.
Mr. Sergeant was aware that the gentleman did not mean to carry out the consequences of his own principle; but those consequences could not but be very serious when, in a great representative body, every question involving taxation was assumed to be a ground of complaint, not as against its authors or advocates, but as against the Constitution itself.
[Here a part of what Mr. Sergeant said was lost, as he turned about, to direct his remarks to Mr. Pickens, who set on the other side.]
Mr. Sergeant said he would quote for the gentleman's benefit a book written in the British isles, and printed in Scotland; it contained an article which went to show what interpretation was put abroad upon the arguments and sentiments advanced here by Southern gentlemen. Mr. Sergeant confessed that in reading, it he had been, as much as any man ought to be, excited by witnessing the impression of which it spoke. He wanted the gentleman to look into this mirror, and there see what consequences were attributed abroad to arguments such as he had now employed. The article was from the last number of the Edinburgh Review, on the Republic of Texas and the recognition of that Government by England. It was written by a Mr. Kennedy, formerly connected with the British Colonial Government in Canada, who had subsequently visited the United States, and had then gone to Texas.
Gentlemen all knew that England had recently acknowledged the Government of Texas, and that the anti-slavery people in England had been dreadfully shocked at the idea, because they affected to believe that the whole of the late Texan revolution had been based chiefly, if not solely, upon the maintenance of slavery; and that by recognizing such a Government, England gave countenance to a Government founded on slavery. ---[somehow, these very same people did not find anything wrong with their own government which was entirely founded on slavery] This was an entire mistake; for in the first place the Texan revolution had started on no such principle; and in the second place the Republic contained but few slaves within its limits. It was not going to be a slave country, but was to rely altogether upon free labor. Then there were vast commercial advantages to England to grow out of her intercourse with this new Republic.
Mr. Sergeant here quoted the following passage:
"The commercial interests of Texas, and the antipathy to the Northern portion of the United Slates, which she inherits from her kindred of her Southern States, will always tend to unite her with Great Britain."
This, Mr. Sergeant remarked, was the language of a stranger looking on what transpired among us, and contemplating with feelings of satisfaction the antipathy of the South against the North, which antipathy, he declares, has gone, with the children of the South, into the new Republic of Texas: his calculation was that they would retain this feeling of hostility; that it would prejudice them against the whole Union; and so would have the effect of holding Texas in closer union with Great Britain. The union was not to be an object of a process of reason, but of a feeling of antipathy; everybody knew what an antipathy was; it had nothing of reason in it; it was an irrational aversion.
After some remarks upon the character of the two Austins, father and son, who were the first American settlers of Texas, Mr. Sergeant proceeded to quote from the Review:
"But the advantages which we may calculate on deriving from Texas in peace are of far greater importance. The foundations of the new Republic truly be said to be laid in the principle of free trade. Her wealth consists in her raw produce; her wants in manufactured articles. Our utmost demand for cotton may, and in great measure will, probably ere long be supplied from Texas; and no fantastic scheme of encouraging imperfect and costly manufactures of her own will, we may be sure, ever induce her to sacrifice her true sources of prosperity, by refusing to take the wrought goods Manchester and Birmingham in exchange for the produce of her soil. Here, then, we have a security against that entire dependence on the commerce of the United States. Which, with all its pacific influences, cannot be contemplated without apprehension. Texas will either repeal the tariff of the United States, or nullify its operation; and, however States and factious may job in Congress, and produce a system of general prohibition, as the result of a dishonest combination between the manufacturers of New England and the sugar planters of Louisiana, the independence of Texas, and the identity of its interest with the principles of free trade, will secure to Great Britain a market where she may buy and sell in defiance of any unwise legislation that may be adopted at Washington. Nor will this be the sum of the beneficial interchange that may be established between the two countries. The fertile territory of Texas creates a demand for labor which Great Britain can alone suppl; and affords an ample field for emigration, which the wise policy of the Republic is prepared to promote, by the soundest system in the disposition of its waste lands. The bonds of ancient kindred may thus be knit with fresh strength; and the independence of Texas create only a wider diffusion of the British race and of British sympathies."
This is the speculation of a man lately connected with the British Ministry in one of the colonies of her empire. And what is the foundation of the whole ? It is the antipathy of the South to this Union an antipathy which they carry into Texas, and which will operate to secure the trade of Birmingham and Manchester against the jobbing in Congress between manufacturers of New England and the sugar planters of Louisiana. When the friends of Abolition in England remonstrate against the recognition of the independence of Texas, and ask, Have we not been paying twenty millions to the West India planters to liberate their slaves, and are we now going to depend on slave labor in the United States ? the answer is, "Oh no; don't you see how it will work ? Don't you see that this recognition must in the end prove the destruction of the slave-holding interest in the United States ? That Texas will supplant them in our market, and that we shall be supplied with all they now furnish to us by free labor ?"
Mr. Pickens here again interposed. If the gentleman from Pennsylvania meant, by implication, to assert that Mr. Pickens had said anything implying antipathy to the North, he was entirely mistaken. Mr. Pickens had said no such thing. He had only argued against pressing tax bills when it was unnecessary; that it would result in producing an alienation of feeling, not in the South against the North, but alienation in the minds and feelings of the tax-paying population, whether in the North or the South.
Mr. Sergeant resumed. If any such feeling existed any where, Mr. Sergeant knew of no cause to produce it. In this quotation, gentlemen had the result of the observations of a stranger.
Mr. Pickens here rose, and, with much earnestness, denounced the author of the review as a stranger to the real feelings of Americans, and traducers of our people.
Mr. Sergeant proceeded, and asked whether it was not time for Americans, who loved this Union, to cling to each other. For, at last, their dependence for defence against the whole world was upon each other. This Union had been so consecrated in the affections of our people that it never could be touched without incurring distress and suffering beyond description. We all had a right to the Union. It never could be dissolved but by force and violence; and when that point was reached, the battle would not be with words. The man who rose to use such weapons would find the dagger at his throat. It would be a contest worse even than a servile war. Indeed, he did not know but the horrors of social might be aggravated by those of a servile war, and both endured at once. The masses might become so excited and so infuriated against each other, that they might be tempted to seize upon any instrument of vengeance that presented itself to their hands. Let Southern gentlemen remember what and who would be so presented to the rage of civil strife. And what would it all be for ? To divide the North from the South ? Where was "the South" ? Could any gentleman tell him ? Where did it begin, and where did it end ? Did it include Delaware ? Did it take in Maryland ? Did it cover Virginia ? or North Carolina ? Was it confined to the cotton region ? There was no cotton in Delaware; none in Maryland,and very little in Virginia or North Carolina; and that little was going rapidly into extinction. The same might be said in reference to Tennessee. The separating line could not, then, be assumed to be the boundary of the cotton district. What would gentlemen call the great valley of Virginia ? Was it the North or was it the South ? Did it belong to one side of the line or to the other ? In feeling, he believed it was much the same as Pennsylvania. But supposing the separation line could be accurately drawn today, where would it be to-morrow ? Was not the extent of the cotton products continually varying ? Where, then, he again asked, was the South ? What was its southern boundary ? Was Louisiana included ? Hers was the sugar region; she wanted her sugar protected ? she was no advocate of free trade, and was not in the combination which would sustain Birmingham and Manchester against the competition of the United States. Where, then, was the identity of the South ? Were there no conflicting interests, no competition, no rivalries ? Were not Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina producers of the same staples, and competitors in the same markets ? Mr. Sergeant would not say that this state of things naturally engendered enmity, but that it produced a conflict of interest. The time had been when South Carolina took the lead in the cotton trade, but he believed that last year the product of Georgia had been greater than hers. The investments of Georgia in the Bank of the United States proved that she had accumulated a vast capital. It had been stated that Mississippi alone could produce more cotton than the united world could require.
And now look at other parts of the Union. Did gentlemen forget the heavy importations of cotton into the city of Boston ? The natural consequence of such commercial intercourse was to establish the relations of mutual friendship. The North became the customer of the South, and one of her best customers. But while the North and the South were contending with each other, did they forget that there was a growing giant who might one day volunteer to come in between them and to put an end to their controversy in a way that would require all their energies to sustain their rights against the power of the mediator ?
Mr. Sergeant here made some reference, not distinctly heard, to the water-rotted and dew-rotted hemp of Kentucky, and intimated that she never would lend herself to an unnatural antipathy and consent to injure her own land to benefit strangers. He was understood to say that the feeling of which he spoke had, in a greater or less degree, prevailed from the beginning; that it had produced the compromise law, and if pressed too far, might lead to consequences which no one could now anticipate.
Mr. Rhett said he had entered the hall while the gentleman from Pennsylvania was speaking. He had not heard the former part of his observations, but he had heard him say that the argument of his colleague [Mr. Pickens] was an argument against the Constitution, because his colleague had said that it was an evil, when taxes were collected in one part of the Union to be spent in another, this was an argument against the Constitution and against representative government. Now Mr. Rhett did not suppose it required any reasoning to prove that if taxes were ever collected in one region and immediately disbursed in the same region, it would be an evil, because such an operation would be attended with expenses to which the people ought not to be subjected, if it could be avoided.
But the evil must be still worse if the taxes were disbursed in a region where they were not collected. Would anyone say that such an operation was not an injury to one part of the country, and a bounty to another ? Could any man deny this ? And did it not present a good practical illustration of the working of the Constitution of the United States ? Would any gentleman deny this ? Did not the reports from the Departments show where the taxes, collected under this Government, were disbursed ? Would any man say that they were disbursed equally ? No man could maintain it. And if the taxes were collected equally, and were disbursed unequally, could any man say that the Constitution of the United States did not work unequally ? It was the naked truth: nay, he was about to say it was a palpable truism. And because he said this, was he to be told that he was arguing against the Constitution, and against representative government ?He was not. It was the most difficult thing in the world, even when the interests of the people were absolutely identical, to frame an equal law. Even in the smallest State, almost every law that could be enacted would operate unequally.
Nor was this true of representative governments only; it was true of every nation under the sun. In Great Britain itself, narrow and circumscribed as were the limits of the British isles, no tax could operate with entire equality. Inequality was the necessary result of taxation under all Governments. Taxation was itself an evil, in any shape; and to say that it was an evil was not to argue against the Constitution of the United States. The same thing might be said of almost every law by which property was either taken or disbursed. And because his colleague had brought this as an argument why taxes should be kept as low as possible, a gentleman from the North rose in his place and pronounced that argument to be an argument against the Constitution and against the Union. The gentleman was mistaken. When the American people adopted the Constitution, no man had been fool enough to think that it would or could operate equally. It was not adopted under any such expectation. It was adopted as the price of liberty and independence. They knew that something must be sacrificed, but they relied on the Constitution to reimburse them for any and all sacrifices it might require. Its benefits they knew would outweigh the price it cost a million fold, provided only that the restrictions in that instrument were sacredly adhered to.
Mr. Rhett believed that, next to the sacred book of God, the Constitution of the United States was the most perfect paper ever seen in the universe, and he should consider it as one of the heaviest calamities, not to the people of this country alone, but to all nations, should it ever go down.
Mr. Rhett was content with the Constitution. He wanted to see no innovation upon it. If Congress forbore to tread upon doubtful or equivocal ground, the effect of the Constitution would be nothing but peace and harmony, and all the wild speculations of libelous intriguing foreigners, whether uttered behind our backs or in our presence, would prove as false in their results as they were base and calumnious in the assumptions on which they were founded. All our difficulties all that marred our harmony or alienated our feelings from each other, arose from the exercise of doubtful powers; and, unless that exercise should be refrained from, these alienations would increase till this mighty fabric off freedom, the precious labor of our fathers' hands must go down and tumble into ruins.
But Mr. Rhett was not one of those who believed that this extended Union of ours was destined to be dissolved. The history of the past exhibited no instance in which a confederacy of States had been dissolved. No; the tendency of confederacies lay in the opposite direction. They had always become more and more consolidated, till some military tyrant arose and set his foot upon the neck of the whole.
Mr. Rhett did not now fear, and never had feared, a dissolution of the Union. It was deeply founded in the interest and affections of the people; it was consecrated by remembrances of the past, and by the most elevating hopes for the future: till Americans should forget both, they never would consent to break their bond of union. And he believed that the chief reason why other nations had ever doubted the continuance of this Confederacy was to be found in the contentions of Representatives on that floor. He knew nothing in the present state of things which breathed any thing like antipathy against the North; nor was he apprehensive that the anticipations of evil which our enemies might indulge ever would be realized by the legislation in that Hall. The good sense and patriotism of the people would correct excessive and unconstitutional legislation here. But when strangers heard on this floor that "free labor was to be arrayed against slave labor" in our legislation when they saw affiliated societies of the North banded against the institutions of the South, and witnessed the continual strife to enlarge the Constitution by the usurpations of a majority on this floor, was it not to be expected that, if they wished our ruin, their eyes would beam with eager hope to see it accomplished ? Doubtless they would. But they were doomed to disappointment the day had not arrived that was to witness the dissolution of the Union of these States.
Mr. Rhett had seen a very learned pamphlet the aim of which was to demonstrate from geographical considerations, and the differences in climate and production, that the Union could not be dissolved. Mr. Rhett was no believer in this sort of geographical logic. How often were those whose geographical relations were precisely the same found at daggers' points with each other, and vice versa ? No; his hope was in the deep sympathy which bound together the Anglo Saxon race in the associations of the past and the common interest and anticipations of the future. These would hold our people firmly together, and it would be long ere the malice or the wit of man could separate them from each other.
Notwithstanding all this, however, he did believe that the Constitution operated unequally even in its most just and constitutional action; but if it worked still more unequally, he was not going to give it up. The Constitution was precious to him in its permanent principles, though it might be unequal in its temporary operation. Make it but what it was intended to be; keep it above all suspicion by the purity of legislative action, let the General Government be what it was intended to be, our shield against foreign nations, and leave local interests to the States. Do this, and union and liberty would long be preserved for our posterity.
As to what had been said about rivalry between Alabama and South Carolina, Mr. Rhett did not believe that their interests were in the least degree antagonistic. Let each be content to do as well as it could, and they might long live in harmony and peace. The same was true of the South and the North. Their interests harmonized the North furnished to the South that best of all markets in the world a domestic market and the South furnished them the raw material; nor was there a man at the South who would not infinitely prefer to wear a suit of American manufacture to being dependent for his clothing on any nation on earth, provided the Constitution was not invaded, to make him tributary to the manufacturer. This was their feeling it pervaded the whole South, but they could not give up their rights their pride, their interest, their duty, alike forbade it. Give us, said Mr. Rhett, the Constitution; that is all we ask; we want no more, and we will not take less.
Mr. Pitt Fessenden expressed his satisfaction at listening to the utterance of such opinions in such a quarter. His mind had been greatly relieved by it, but he regretted to find, when the gentleman came to explain, that all his attachment to the Constitution and the Union hung upon this condition, that everybody else must adopt his peculiar views of the Constitution, and abstain from the exercise of every power concerning which he entertained a doubt. When closely looked at, this was but nullification in another form. However, as the time he had to speak was so very limited, he would not pursue that subject further.---[Yes, yes, yes; you learned well already, Mr. future chairman of the Committee. How dare anyone expect that the Constitution should be adhered to, and the Constitution should limit the power and jurisdiction of the Federal government !!]
Mr. Fessenden then went into a statistical examination of the grounds on which the bill rested, and spoke in its defence with much earnestness and force of argument. He called for proof in support of the feasibility of the long list of retrenchments which had been presented by Mr. Pickens. He had all proper respect for that gentleman, but could not accept of his naked opinion as sufficient evidence on a question of this kind. Mr. Fessenden had no patience for that sort of economy which would save money by refusing appropriations of obvious and pressing necessity, which would suffer our fortifications to go to decay, our harbors to remain defenceless, and our navy to fall into dilapidation, rather than appropriate the money necessary to meet the expense of these great and important public, works. Should a war arise, the people would pronounce it a poor and niggardly spirit, which, for fear of asking for the money necessary to be expended, had left them defenceless to their enemies.
Mr. Fessenden inveighed with warmth against the course of the last Administration in suffering a public debt to accumulate, and then denouncing their successors because they brought that debt to view and took measures to pay it. He strongly argued the necessity of a loan by showing that there was no reasonable prospect of a speedy increase of revenue in proof of which he went into an examination of the statistics of Government receipts, which would not exceed thirteen and a half millions, while sixteen millions would be wanted to meet the ordinary expenses of Government. He went into a comparison of the advantages of a loan and of Treasury notes, warmly advocating the former as avoiding all mystification and presenting to the people a true view of their affairs. He scouted the affected horror of gentlemen on the other side at the idea of incurring a national debt while they themselves had created it, hidden it from the eye of the people under perplexed and unintelligible reports from the Treasury, and then turned it over as a legacy to the present Administration. As to State rights, they were not in the least danger; the Representatives of the people would naturally love the rights of their States. He had much greater apprehension for the rights of Congress under the Constitution, and had indeed been waiting to hear some straight-laced State Rights gentleman rise up and deny the right of Congress to borrow money. The greater danger was from a want of attachment to the General Government.---[You mean subservient to the General Government; you mean accepting without a word the General Government's deciding the extent and limits of its power, construing and contorting and constructing the Constitution to suit their purposes]
Mr. Fessenden having concluded
The CHAIRMAN gave the floor to Mr. Saltonstall, who was proceeding to address the committee, but yielded the floor (by request) to Mr. Dawson, who, remarking that it was now 3 o'clock, moved that the committee rise. Which motion prevailing, the committee rose, reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again.
And the House adjourned.
In SenateMr. Woodbury submitted the following:
Wednesday, June 9, 1841.
Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to inform the Senate if any application has been made officially to him, or the State or Treasury Department, by the holders of State stocks, or others on their account, respecting the payment or assumption of them, and to furnish copies of any correspondence which has taken place in relation to those subjects.
In SenateThe following resolution, submitted some days since by Mr. Woodbury, was considered and agreed to:
June 14th, 1841.
Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to inform the Senate if any application has been made officially to him, or the State or Treasury Department, by the holders of State stocks, or others on their account, respecting the payment or assumption of them, and, to furnish copies of any correspondence which has taken place in relation to those subjects.
Mr. McKeon rose rather to make some inquiries than to offer any studied effort against the bill. Remarks which had been made in the course of the debate of the day, prompted him to address the committee. He wished that he could follow the advice given by gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. Cushing] in relation to discussing the subject under debate. He felt the force of his observations, but at the same time, with the example before him, given by the distinguished member from Pennsylvania [Mr. Sergeant] and others who preceded him [Mr. McKeon] in this discussion, he was satisfied that he could without any difficulty speaks his share of time out and not expose himself to being called to order for irrelevancy.
Under your hour system this last invention of the majority time is precious. You compel all to compress their thoughts into a shape which will not consume more than one hour in delivery. To address this House in order to convince the majority, which rules with despotic sway, is not my hope. I shall attempt no such impossibility. Had we of the minority the wisdom of Solomon, we could not succeed. You have the power in your hands; you have the disposition to exercise that power; and nothing remains for us but to sound the alarm to the country. Some thousands of freemen have sent me into this Hall to watch their interests, and I trust they will find I am not forgetful of the trust they have confided to me. I stand here speaking to Buncombe, as the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Wise] said this morning to my people, Mr. Chairman; and, if I can only be reported, they shall hear from me whenever your majority, as in this case, is about to manacle them and their industry to the moneyed power of the old world and the new.
We are here in a new era. The gentleman from Massachusetts forgets that he and his friends are in power, and have now all responsibility on them. It is in vain to cast censure on the past Administration. I have heard much blame cast on the late Executive of the Union. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Cushing] says that the present Administration inherited a debt which they now ask you to fund. Let the people mark the progress of these new schemes of relief. The first measure of the party now in power was to scatter the proceeds of the public domain among the States, to give the means of the General Government to the States. The second measure, now under consideration this very bill is to borrow twelve millions of dollars because you are in debt. But the gentleman from Massachusetts says the late Administration bequeathed this debt. If they did, which is not so clear, as shown by gentlemen who have preceded me in this discussion, we left you also a large landed estate. As heirs, you took the property subject to debts, but, like faithless executors, you have distributed the land amongst the legatees before you have paid the just debts outstanding. Do gentlemen consider they now are executors of great public trusts ? It will be impossible to avoid responsibly by arraigning the past. We have been arraigned tried, most unfairly tried, convicted, and sent into exile. You are now in the high places of the nation, and must, in your turn, be tried, not on the misdeeds of your predecessors, but on your own conduct of the affairs of tire nation.
I rise, sir, to set some things right before the people. This morning, while the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Watterson] was addressing the committee, it was understood that a remark made to him by a colleague of mine, [Mr. Morgan] was calculated to leave an impression which I cannot believe was intended. It was in reference to the famous Ogle speech. Many of those who sit near me believed that my colleague said that a justification for the vote of the Whig party, for an appropriation of $6,000 to furnish the President's House, was to be found in the fact, that on the 4th of last March, when the late President went into the President's mansion, the greater part of the furniture was not to be found. The impression was left on the minds of many, that he charged the late President with abstracting that furniture. Such, certainly, cannot have been my colleague's intention ? I pause for a reply.
Mr. Morgan said, that he did not charge Mr. Van Buren with any such thing; but he said that $70,000 were appropriated for furniture during General Jackson's and Mr. Van Buren's term of service; that on the close of Mr. Van Buren's administration the furniture left was worth very little, and this showed that the money had either been mis-spent, or not spent; and that the articles of furniture were not to be found. But he did not intend to charge Mr. Van Buren with any share of that.
Mr. McKeon. Well sir, I am glad no one is here to charge the ex-President of the United States with this. If my colleague would consider, perhaps he would find that the wear and tear of furniture for twelve years would somewhat affect its price. If there have been wrongs committed about the expenditure of the appropriations, his party should have, and probably would have, if it existed, exposed the wrong. If property has been abstracted, you should now take measures to recapture the property, and indict the offender. I might perhaps say more on this subject, but I will not. The topic is one which I have touched upon, not without extreme reluctance. Indeed, but for the request of those around me, I should not have referred to it. They have desired that no doubt should remain as to the supposed charge. I will not contend with this Administration on such points. We strike at higher game.
I turn now to another colleague, and ask his attention for a few moments about this debt of the Government. I find the bill on your table proposes to borrow twelve millions to pay our debts. This House is evidently at a loss to know exactly our indebtedness. The Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means say that will be a sufficient amount. What says my colleague [Mr. Barnard]? Where is his amount of $40,000,000 of debt ? Will he not move to increase the amount to $40,000,000; or to any, and to what ? I have heard him this morning peremptorily deny that he ever said that there were $40,000,000 of debt on the Government. He never did state this positively. I hold in my hand his speech of last year, and an elaborate speech it will be found, prepared with great care, not only as to its figures, but also as to its mode of expression. I am aware it speaks of probabilities and estimates, and deals in cautious and guarded expressions. I will refer to portions of it, and appeal not only to the House, but to the candor of the gentleman himself, to answer me whether or not the impression was not fairly deducible from these expressions, that a debt of $40,000,000 must be met by the present Administration ? These are the extracts:
Mr. Chairman, I have one statement more to present, and than I shall have done with my notice of the remarkable position that this Government has "relieved itself entirely from debt." My object in this statement is to make as near an approach as I can to the sum of all the burdens and charges which will, or may probably, fall on the Treasury in the four years of the in-coming Administration, over and above all ordinary and current expenditures. The items in this statement will be sufficiently understood, after the explanations which I have already given.
Estimate of the probable amount of public debt and liabilities growing out of past transactions, for which the Administration of the next four years may have to provide being over and above all current expenditures, viz:
Treasury notes outstanding with interest on them, including such as may be issued before the 4th of March, under the act of 1840 ..... $5,250,000
Old Funded and Certificate Debt, (probably) 100,000
Debts of the cities in the District of Columbia, assumed by the Government, with interest ... 1,750,000
Amounts required to be invested for Indians and Indian tribes .... 2,580,000
Principal sums payable to Indiana or Indian tribes .... 1,000,000
Annuities $500,000 per year, four years .... 2,000,000
Amount required to make good the deficit in the Navy Pension Fund .... 1,200,000
Charges which will fall on the Treasury in 1841, on account of liabilities incurred under appropriations made in 1840 and previous years the money having been earned, but not called for; taking the excess of such charges over what will be chargeable on the Treasury in 1842, in the like account, under appropriations of 1841 and previous years .... 2,000,000
Claims on account of Indian affairs and relations, &c. allowed or to be allowed in the Department's, or by accounting officers .... 2,000,000
Claims growing out of Florida war, &c. presented to Congress .... 3,000,000
Due on account of Trust Funds (other than Indian) .... 500,000
Fourth Installment, under the deposite act of 1836 .... 9,000,000
Claims on account of French spoliations on commerce .... 5,000,000
To which is to be added a sum necessary to provide a suitable average balance in the Treasury .... 5,000,000
Making in all ........ $40,380,000
Here is arranged a long line of items, striking the public eye, all summed up in the enormous amount of upwards of forty millions. The gentleman may not have seen it, but I assure him that in public newspapers in our own State this very table has been circulated, and with but one object, to impress the public mind with the idea of the load of debt saddled by the late Administration on the present ? Now, sir, my colleague may say that the most of his statement was all mere conjecture. That will not answer. He and his friends have the power to borrow as much money as they can. If they will probably be required to provide means, why not provide sufficient at this time, and put it all into this bill ? I ask my colleague, now he has the power, which of this long list of items we will probably not be called upon to pay, which he now estimates this Administration will not be called upon to discharge ? Certainly he does not expect to be discharged from the item of nine millions of the fourth installment. His political friends in our State expressly insist on that item. He must add that to the present proposed loan. He will not take out the five millions for the French spoliations. My friend at the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, [Mr. Cushing] who has for years been the champion of these claims, will not assent to this item not being considered amongst the estimates. I will not go through the list, but will ask my colleague to tell this committee what now are our probable and estimated liabilities, and which of these items must be provided for ? Sir, he will not move to increase this bill. He will not, I am satisfied, propose to increase the amount of this loan bill. He may now say he was misunderstood. It was by such misunderstanding the late political revolution was produced. It was sounded throughout the country that an immense public debt had been incurred in time of peace; that burdens were laid upon the people, and their substance squandered. One universal shout was heard on all sides proclaiming this fact; and now, when the excitement is over, and we ask gentlemen to defend their statements, they tell us they have been misrepresented or misunderstood.
Yes, sir, I again repeat it, that on such misunderstandings we have been tried most unfairly tried before the American people.
Wronged as the late Administration was in this particular, I am willing that the past should be a closed book. The 4th, if not the ides of March, has come and gone. You told the country that then new books would be opened new policy pursued. To the gentleman from Massachusetts I say the word is "onward." You cannot turn the eyes of the country back; they are bent on an onward course and such a course as you now are holding forth to them ! You promised them relief. Where is it to be found ? In this extraordinary session of Congress which thus far proposes relief by squandering the public domain while you are in distress, and laying the foundation of a public debt ? The leaflets of the present Administration make Charles Surface the great exemplar of their financial conduct. When he found himself in difficulty as to money matters, he called in the auctioneer put up the family pictures, and by these means raised money. His first act was to give the money to a friend in distress, exactly in the same way as you give the proceeds of the public land to the States in distress. When appealed to on the score of the propriety of paying his debts, of being just before he was generous, he objected, on the ground that Justice was so lame a jade she never could keep pace with Generosity. Will the people sanction such generosity ? a generosity which is calculated to corrupt the States, and to prostrate the great mass at the feet of a moneyed power ? I know this is considered by many on this floor as addressed to the prejudices of the great body of the people. Not so. It is to their calm, deliberate judgment I appeal, on the measures you are now forcing on the country I repeat, forcing on the country at this session, under the burning heat of the summer solstice, with an imperfect Congress, and an unfair representation on this floor.
You are building up, in detached portions, a most alarming system, which is well calculated to rally around this central Government the wealth of this country and of Europe, and to wield the power of this Government to the aggrandizement of the few, at the sacrifice of the interests of the many. Already we have had evidence of the effrontery of foreign bankers in calling upon the General Government. Who would have believed that the Rothschilds and other bankers would be sending letters rogatory to our President ?
It is manifest that the operations of this Government are now to be exerted to promote the moneyed interests of the nation. With intense anxiety I have watched each movement at the present session. Every step tends to concentrate around the General Government the capital of the country; and the day may not be far distant when it will be found with immense weight pressing on the labor of the nation. The simplicity of our Government is vanishing, and each day brings us nearer the proceedings of the dynasties of Europe. They are continually in negotiations with bankers. We are now commencing negotiations. But this morning we find on our tables evidence that the great money kings of the age have crossed the Atlantic, and are now asking the interference of the General Government on behalf of the State debts. It appears that it is not sufficient that we should discharge our own obligations, but we are asked to relieve the several states. I hold in my hand a document which gives certain letters addressed by foreign banking-houses to the President of the United States and the Secretary of State. I ask the attention of the committee to these extraordinary papers, most proper documents for this extraordinary session.
The first is a letter bearing date London, April 2, 1841, from N.M. Rothschild and Sons to the late President of the United States (General Harrison.) The letter states that they had addressed him on the 9th of March. That communication was not referred to the Department of State, and of this we know nothing. The Rothschilds state that they are apprehensive that the State of Indiana will not be able to pay the semi-annual interest due on the first of July. The letter then proceeds to say, that
"The high sense expressed in your inaugural address of the importance of the various States of the Union maintaining their credit by the fulfillment of their engagements, and the enlightened views expressed in regard to the intimate connection of their proceedings with the honor of the Republic, have produced much general satisfaction and approbation; and although aware how much the great concerns you have to direct must engross your attention, we are emboldened by those favorable sentiments to bring to your notice the circumstance of the deficiency in the means of the State of Indiana for the payment of her next dividend. A word from you, or the least interposition in her favor, could not fail to afford relief in the present exigency; and it appears to us that, in order to be effective, some measure should be adopted with as little as to delay possible. A large portion of the stock, amounting $3,600,000, has had the interest and principal made payable with our house, and it would be desirable for us to be prepared, by the 1st June, with the necessary funds for the payment of the next dividend.
"We hope you will consider the subject of the present letter to be of sufficient importance to have your attention, as we are assured you would not fail to bestow it upon any point you deemed to be connected with the interests of the great Republic you preside over; and we trust the importance we attach to it will form our excuse with you for entering fully into the explanation of our opinions.
"We beg leave to present to you the assurance of our high esteem and respect, and we have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient and humble servants,
N.M. Rothschild & Sons."http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llcg&fileName=009/llcg009.db&recNum=627
The Messrs. Rothchilds were not satisfied with addressing the President. On the 7th April, 1841, they issued another ukase, addressed to the Secretary of State. That letter, after referring to the communication addressed to the President, and intimating that Indiana must not allow her interest to remain unpaid, states as follows:
"If the non-payment of the said dividend were permitted to take place, the consequences would be extremely prejudicial to the financial and commercial credit of America, as it would be an unprecedented instance of one of the States of the Union failing in the fulfilment of her engagement to her creditors; and we consider it of so much importance that an occurrence of this nature should be avoided, that we are induced to recommend it to the attention of the Federal Government. We hope that in doing so, and in pointing out also the importance of all the States continuing to observe with their usual punctuality the fulfilment of their engagements, we shall not be considered presuming, as our motive is to sustain the credit which the States have hitherto enjoyed in the European markets, and which has facilitated the negotiation therein of numerous and extensive loans for promoting the general improvement of the country.
"The position of the State of Indiana comes more particularly under our cognizance, as a large portion of her stocks, amounting to $3,600,000, is made payable with our house, and it would be desirable for the necessary funds to be in our hands by the 1st June. We beg leave therefore to represent to you, that any interposition in her behalf would require to be prompt, in order to be effectual.
---[Daniel Webster collection | Brandeis University
August Belmont to Daniel Webster, April 21, 1841.
Enclosed are two letters forwarded from N.M. Rothschild & Sons of London]
Thus far for the London bankers. Now let us turn to the Hague. At that place we have as our Charge d'Affaires, Hermanus Bleecker, the townsman of my colleague, [Mr. Barnard.] While the latter is figuring up the debt of the National Government in this country, Mr. Bleecker is called upon to provide means to discharge the debts. Messrs. Hope and Co. of Amsterdam, under date of May 11, 1841, addressed a letter to Mr. Bleecker. The Hope letter is as follows:
Amsterdam, May 11, 1841.
Sir: We hope you will kindly excuse our troubling you with the enclosed letters, one for the Governor of the Territory of Florida, and the other for the President of the Legislative Council, which you will oblige us by forwarding; and we add copies of these letters for your information, begging you will oblige us by sending the same to the General Government of the Union, that being the natural guardian of the Territory; and it would be of the utmost importance to the Dutch creditors if you would consent to urge upon the said Government the necessity of watching over the affairs of Florida, and protecting the credit of the infant State.
In a few days we shall again have to trouble you with a similar application to the Governor of the State of Mississippi, the interest coupons due the 1st of May on the bonds of that State, having been left unpaid; and it is a matter of much importance to American credit in Holland, that such instances of irregularity be promptly remedied.
It is this view of the subject which induces us to hope that, in your official capacity, you will kindly countenance our applications.
We have the honor to be, sir,
Your most obedient servants.
H. HOPE & Co.
This communication, together with the enclosures, were transmitted by Mr. Bleecker to Mr. Webster on the 14th May, 1841.
Let us leave the Hague and go back to the London bankers. A leading member of one of the first banking houses in London ---[Baring, owned shares in the first Bank of the US] visits the United States, and writes to Mr. Webster, six days before the opening of this extra session, a letter, of which the following is a copy:
New York, May 25, 1841.
Sir: By the request of the parties interested, I beg to enclose the copy of a memorial that I have received, signed by the of the proprietors of Mississippi stock in London, addressed to Governor of that State. I am requested to desire you will be so kind as to lay the same before the President, and to do all in your power to induce that State to comply with its engagements.
I have the honor to be, sir,
Your very obedient servant,
The enclosure is dated at London, May 1, 1841. It is an application of some sixteen mercantile firms and individual holders of the Mississippi bonds to the authorities of that State, praying that immediate means may be provided for the regular payment of the dividends and principal of the bonds.
The Messrs. Rothschilds again apply to Mr. Webster under date of May 26, 1841. They write from London as follows, to the Secretary of State:
LONDON, May 20, 1841.
We take the liberty of bringing to your notice the non-payment of the semi-annual dividend due here on the 1st instant upon $5,000,000 Mississippi State 5 per cent. bonds issued through the Union Bank of that State. A memorial signed by merchants, bankers, and others in London, holding the said stock, has been addressed by them to the State Government of Mississippi, representing the injustice done to them by such a proceeding, and the discredit which would thereby attach to the State, and praying that measures may be promptly taken for redeeming the faith pledged by the state to her public creditors, and for providing means to pay the dividends regularly. We hand you a copy of the memorial enclosed, and beg to state that the default in this instance would not only destroy the credit of the State of Mississippi, if not promptly rectified, but must materially affect the credit and estimation of all the other States of the Union. We consider, therefore, that this a case of the utmost importance in a financial as well as commercial view to the national character and credit of the United States, and from the general expectations which are entertained that your able administration will pursue a sound policy, honorable as well as advantageous to the Republic, and from the high opinion we have formed of your enlightened views and zealous regard for the real interests of your country, we have no doubt that you will deem an occurrence of this nature worthy of particular attention, and that you will excuse the liberty we have taken in troubling you upon the subject.
This memorial referred to is addressed to the State authorities of Mississippi, and is signed by N.M. Rothschild and Sons, and some thirty other individuals and firms, representing their own claims and those of others. The memorial prays that means may be provided to pay the dividends due. From London, from the Hague, from New York, the Secretary of State received their applications. Philadelphia now sends in her share of demands. Mr. Williams encloses to Mr. Webster, under date of June 14, 1841, from Philadelphia, a memorial from the holders of bonds issued by the Bank of Pensacola, addressed to the Governor and Council of the Territory of Florida, with an extract of a letter from Messrs. Gowan and Maix of London, by whom these memorials were forwarded to this country.
[Mr. Proffit rose and inquired if any intimation had been given by this Government that they would assume those debts.]
Mr. McKeon said, No, sir; I have not stated any such thing. I speak only from these letters in my hand; and if gentlemen will have patience, I will tell them what I complain of. Will members refer to the letter of the Secretary of State, communicating these letters to the Senate of the United States, under a call from that body ? What does the Secretary of State say ? That "these letters, not appearing to require any answers, none have been given." In my humble judgment they did require answers and I have no doubt what answer they would have received from the immediate predecessor of the present day. Here Secretary letters addressed to the President to the Secretary of State to one of our foreign ministers, in relation to matters with which we have nothing to do. And was it not the duty of the Secretary of State, having regard to the financial character of the Union, at once to inform these applicants that their applications were misdirected that they had reference to subjects entirely within the control of the States and with which the General Government had no connection ? This course would at once have informed these foreign bankers of the impropriety of their application, and thereby perhaps saved us from future trouble. I confess that I have no love of these money kings. I have seen their immense power exerted in the European worlds. They have held in their hands peace or war. Monarchs have been suitors at their counters. They have wound their golden chains around the movements of the Governments of Europe, so that alone by their will do they move. They have said to freedom in her march, "thus far shalt thou go and no farther;" and that command has been supreme in the old world. Must it also be supreme in the new ? I dread their influence; and every American who values the permanency of our institutions, should revolt at any proceeding calculated to bring them closer to us. This very measure will produce such a result. This attempt to fund your alleged public debt, is the food whereon they feed. With the Republicans who framed the Constitution, I agree that a funded debt is ever to be shunned; and so far as my vote can mark my objection to it, the negative vote I give on this bill will be most cheerfully given.
But I am asked, will you not pay the debts now due ? Will you not give the Administration the necessary means ? They have means, but they wish not to apply them to the proper purposes. The land bill which passed this House, within a few days past, would, if defeated, give you means sufficient, in few years, to pay off this undiscovered debt. You came into power as the reform party. You have a reformed Executive, and a reformed Parliament, and why not at once proceed to the promised work ? Are there on subjects not which you can operate ? Already the Executive part of the Government is actively engaged. The Secretary of State has directed a circular to the wicked office holders, enjoining on them the practice of every good quality which can elevate humanity. The Secretary of the Navy has issued an important manifesto, read this morning to you by the gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. Watterson] regulating the length and breadth of the hair and whiskers of officers of the navy. Without any intention to say aught disrespectful to the Secretary, and I trust the Secretary and his friends will so understand me, it appears that, by this circular, it is intended to make this a bare faced Administration. Next comes the Postmaster General with the scythe of reform. He is not satisfied with cutting off beards, but he takes off heads. Day after day we hear of his decapitation of the postmasters in various sections of the Union. Let the chief of the Post Office Department remember that Peter the Great produced a revolution by merely attempting to cut off the beards of his subjects. May not the conduct of the Postmaster General be more likely to result in a political revolution in this country ? But, seriously, sir, are to these the reforms promised the country ? Was it for such reformed this vast Confederacy was agitated so deeply and extensively ? The people have changed their rulers, but, I am satisfied, to receive from their new governors burdens much more grievous, and exactions much more galling than any they have yet suffered.
If you desire to alleviate the distress of the people, examine your civil and diplomatic list. I ask the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations to inform this House what necessity there is for keeping up our diplomatic corps at most of the courts abroad ? It is at best but an imitation of the monarchies of Europe. What are our Ministers about ? What are they engaged in ? I may be told that if they do not keep up the system, foreign nations will not send to us. Who will suffer ? Certainly not the United States. Ambassadors originally were intended as spies in the court to which they were accredited. Have we any necessity for agents in such business ? Mr. Jefferson was right in his policy of keeping within ourselves. Let me not be misunderstood. If there be any place where they can be employed in carrying out the views of the United States, let them be sent there. If not, reduce all your agents down to consular agents, and you will find the interests of the country protected. You have next to make an effort to reduce the number of your custom-house officers. It is evident that if you reduce your tariff to a low rate of duties, you take away the inducement for smuggling, and thereby the necessity of employment of numerous guardians of the revenue. Moreover, if you want revenue, the best mode of raising it from customs is by low duties. That result has been well ascertained by a late examination of a committee of the British House of Commons.
I will not attempt to enumerate the subjects which present a wide field for the labors of the reformers. At the present moment I assume the attitude of resistance to this measure you propose to our consideration. The reforms we see before us, all tend to the oppression of the mass. You may attempt to conceal your advance; you may attempt to not expose your whole line of attack; but it will be in vain. You shall not force on the country these measures in detachments. We are here to stand on the ramparts and proclaim your movements. The people may have been misled, may have been misinformed, but the day is approaching when will be made apparent the real objects of the present majority. You may for, a time proceed with your legislation. But I cannot believe that the people of this country will ever sustain any party which will squander the public domain to make a deficit in the Treasury create a funded debt establish a National Bank to hold in its grasp the issues of life and death by its power to contract and expand the currency, and a tariff which, at one dash of the pen of the Secretary of the Treasury, imposes a tax of 20 per cent. on the articles which are now the necessaries of life. These are your proposed measures of relief. These are to be hurried through at this extraordinary session of Congress, with the appliance of extra-ordinary rule stifling debate and by every extra-ordinary means in your power. When these measures are understood and felt, as they will be, by the nation, who can doubt the reversal of the decision it has lately made ?
House of RepresentativesRobert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (D) of Virginia
Mr. CHAIRMAN: I should not have said a word upon this bill, but for the direction which the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Sergeant] has given to the debate. But as it seems that the opposition to this measure is to be arraigned before the country as disloyal to the Constitution and the Union, it behooves me to say something in vindication of the vote which I shall give.
I regret the order in which the Chairman of the Ways and Means has been pleased to take up his measures, as his arrangement of business has served to increase somewhat the difficulties in the way of a fair consideration of this bill. It seems to me that the new tariff recommended by Secretary of the Treasury, and now in course of preparation, as I understand, by the Committee of Ways and Means, should have been first presented. We ought to have considered how far we were willing to impose additional burdens upon the people, before we had created a deficiency in our revenues, by wasting the great inheritance of the public lands, whose proceeds we have agreed to scatter to the four winds of heaven, under the distribution act which have lately passed. But especially ought we to have determined the mode and measure of this new tax before we took up the proposition to borrow, as upon the former question would depend not only the amount necessary to be borrowed, but the time for which the loan is to be made, should such a measure be deemed indispensable.---[20 years later the exact same method was going to be used to justify borrowings and issuing Treasury notes; to finance the war and to set up a national banking system: first issue notes and bonds, then establish a banking system, then produce a tax bill and collect revenues. And the mantra was also the same: "it is an emergency, we have to act now, we have to pass this loan bill (H.R. 240) right now, or everything is all over"]
For one, sir, I am far from believing in the existence of any such inexorable necessity. On the contrary, I am of opinion that the means provided and the appropriations made at the last regular session were ample for the wants of the country under a wise and economical administration of the finances. Nor do I believe that any thing like $12,000,000 will be required, in addition to the present resources, to enable the Secretary to expend all that it is possible for him to disburse, even upon the scale of his own extravagant demands. If this be a true view of the case, I may fairly vote against this bill, as not justified by the real wants of the country, and as an unnecessary burden to be imposed upon the people.
But, sir, I have yet higher grounds of objection to the measure, when I view it as a convenient and, perhaps, necessary part, of a system which, when once cemented and secured, will, in my opinion, amount to a revolution itself in the spirit it of our political institutions. And although the gentleman from Pennsylvania may intimate that this opposition proceeds from disloyalty to the Constitution and the Union, I will endeavor presently to demonstrate that it is his system, and not the opposition to it, which is calculated to destroy both.
But, Mr. Chairman, is it true that Congress, at its last session, had provided for all the just wants of the public service and of the Treasury, under a wise and economical administration of the finances ? A brief reference to the past will show. It has been declared, (without contradiction, I believe, from any quarter,) that, under the administration of all former Secretaries, with the exception of a single year, the annual expenditures had been confined within the sum of the annual and permanent appropriations. This rule, which would seem to be founded upon a just respect for the opinions of those who make the appropriations from year to year, and who hold the power of originating taxes, is, perhaps, as much entitled to the observance of the present Secretary as it was to that of his predecessors.
For myself, I am the more inclined to insist upon its application, as I find that, according to Mr. Ewing's own statement, it would allow him an expenditure of nearly $20,000,000, exclusive of the Post Office and of the redemption of Treasury notes an expenditure sufficient under any view of our circumstances, and even too large upon a companion of the real necessity of the public service with the present exhausted condition of the Treasury. Throwing out of consideration the Post Office establishment, (which, hereafter, I shall not consider on either side of the account,) the entire charges of the year, for the annual and permanent appropriations, exclusive of the redemption of Treasury notes, are, according to the Secretary's statement, $19,719,094. This, I believe, is somewhat larger than the real amount, but I prefer to adopt his own statements, except in the particulars in which upon their face they are erroneous. Add to this amount for the redemption of Treasury notes, not the $5,283,831 as estimated by the Secretary, but $4,173,220, and the entire charges for the year 1841 are $23,892,314. The difference between the amount of Treasury notes to be redeemed, as stated by the Secretary, and myself, consists only in the item of $1,110,611, issued during the first two months of the year, under the act of 1840, which bear an interest of six per centum for a year from the date of their issue, and are no more likely to be presented for payment than the $5,000,000 issued under the act of 1841. And here let me correct an error of the gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. Saltonstall] who supposed that they ceased to bear interest during the present year, and therefore argued that they would probably be returned. The Treasury notes issued under the act of 1840 bear interest for a year from the date of their issue; and those which were issued during the present year, under that act, carry interest according to its provisions. There can be no reason, therefore, why capitalists, who invest so greedily in these securities, should return the issues made under the act of 1840 during the present year, which would not equally apply to the issues under the act of 1841; and these the Secretary himself does not expect to redeem.
Let us now see what will be the probable means of the year, as estimated by the Secretary of the Treasury. The resources in Treasury notes under the acts of 1840 and 1841 were, for the present year, $6,784,292. The means of other kinds, as estimated in the annual report of the Secretary, are $18,085,691; and a subsequent report from the Secretary to the Senate acknowledges a mistake of $619,136, which he had failed to enter as a receipt upon a bond of the Bank of the United States. Then these sums give us $25,489,119. Here, again, there is probably a mistake in a failure to enter the item of money in the mint as a part of the outstanding balance on the 1st of January, 1841. But I prefer, as I said before, to take the Secretary's own statement, and make no question upon that point.
It is sufficient for one that, upon his own statement, the difference between the fair charges and receipts for 1841 will probably amount to $1,596,805 in favor of the latter. And this surplus would accrue upon the supposition that the Secretary is to show no disposition to relieve his department by a retrenchment in expenditures, or by an efficient application of his means, so as to make the most of them. The calculation supposes no reform in the expense of collecting the revenue; it demands no particular skill from the head of the Treasury Department in the adaptation of his means to the ends sought in the appropriations. Other Secretaries might be expected to exhibit the high ambition of showing, not with how much, but with how little money the wants of the public service might be satisfied. The people may have expected, perhaps, in the present emergency, that he would have drawn from the resources of that high financial and executive talent for which he was doubtless called to his present responsible post, to devise the means of relieving their burdens, and of imparting increased energy in the use of the means which they provided. But for myself, sir, I only ask him to be content with the same rules and the same scale of expenditure which, under the present circumstances, would have governed, if they had not satisfied, any and all of his predecessors.
But, Mr. Chairman, the present Secretary has not been content to abide by this salutary rule. He demands the means for an expenditure of $6,705,577 more than the sum of the annual and permanent appropriations which both reason and usage point out as the amount proper to be expended. The last Congress, with a knowledge of the usage which governed the Treasury Department, and with a full view of the embarrassments of the people and of the wants of the public service, made its appropriations and provided the means. Those means I think I have shown were sufficient for the usual and reasonable measure of expenditure under the existing acts of appropriation. Why, then, should we now be called upon to lay new burdens upon our constituents, and to supply Mr. Secretary Ewing with the means of an expenditure greater, by nearly $7,00,000 than we had anticipated ? Has he given us any reasons for this extravagant demand ? I have heard none he has given none. A gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. McKay] has called upon him for detailed estimates of the mode in which this extraordinary expenditure is to be applied. But no answer is given. The resolution seems to have gone to that "undiscovered bourne" from which there is no return.
The Secretary of War has sent us estimates, it is true, of the new appropriations for which he asks in addition to the $15,991,895 outstanding on the 3d of March, he desires $2,521,336 of new appropriations to be made and for what ? Why, chiefly for fortifications and armaments, some of which fortifications are to be entirely new works. Many, and perhaps all of these objects, with the exception of the new works, may be attained, if necessary, by transfers from old appropriations. But, sir, without a minute examination of the extent of the means of transfer, it is enough for me that both the report and the estimates have failed to convince me that these new appropriations are necessary. A portion of the $800,000 asked for the Florida war ought, perhaps, to be appropriated; but if it were, the surplus of $1,596,805 would much more than cover any necessary demand for this purpose.
But the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Saltonstall] seems to think that we ought to take the fact of the demand of the Secretary of the Treasury as evidence of its necessity, inasmuch as he must be better acquainted with the wants of the public service than we can be. Sir, I take issue with that gentleman, and maintain that the very fact that the Secretary ought to be conversant with these details, with which we cannot be minutely acquainted, leads to the reverse conclusion that we ought to demand the reasons for the requisition, before we make the appropriation; otherwise we should lose the power of originating money bills, with which this House is particularly invested by the Constitution, under the plea of ignorance as to the best mode of using it, and have no other measure of the grant than that of the demand of the Treasury.
If the Secretary proposes an unusual amount of expenditure, we have a right to demand his reasons for it. If none be given, and there be none within our own knowledge, we are not only justified in refusing the extra means, but we are bound to limit his supplies to necessary and useful objects, if this be the only legal mode by which we can restrain him.
Confidence, Mr. Chairman, is said to be a plant of slow growth; and why should I thus bestow mine upon Mr. Secretary Ewing, in advance of any reason for it ? Shall I find my warrant for it in his proposition to expend more than the sum of the annual and permanent appropriations by nearly $7,000,000 ? Shall I look for my justification in his request that we borrow $4,000,000 to lie idle in the Treasury as a surplus ? Or shall I find it in his series of recommendations for the issue of more than $30,000,000 in United States stock ? Whilst, on the one hand, he recommends a new tax of 20 per cent. upon nearly all of the free articles amounting, as he supposes, to about $57,000,000; he proposes, on the other, to distribute the proceeds of the public lands, and waste the inheritance which it was his duty to have guarded and preserved. Are these the evidences of his economy and wisdom, which are to induce me to trust him thus blindly with the means for these extravagant expenditures ? or am I to seek them in that magnificence of conception, and contempt of small matters, which were exemplified in his failure to credit the revenue with more than six hundred thousand dollars, as an item too diminutive to attract his sublime regards ?
Mr. Chairman, he may thus have won the confidence of other gentlemen; but he must use other means if he wins mine. I cannot, and will not, vote the means for this extraordinary expenditure, unless he or his friends give me some reason to justify it.
But I am told, if the Secretary were to confine himself within the rule which his predecessors have adopted, that there would still be an amount of Treasury notes outstanding at the close of the year. True, sir; there would be, upon this supposition, nearly $7,000,000 then outstanding. But they would not be presented for payment until they ceased to bear interest; and if Government had the means, it probably would not have the opportunity to redeem them, except in small parcels, until the close of the year. There will be ample time at the next regular session to provide for their redemption. With increased economy in the public expenditures, which has been promised, and ought to be used, even the present sources of revenue, with the power to re-issue, to a small extent, would furnish the means of redemption within a year or two at the farthest. Or if the same scale of expenditure is to be continued, the new taxes which may be laid when the tariff comes up for re-adjustment will enable the Department to redeem them as fast as they will be presented. Or if a loan be the favorite mode, there will be time enough next winter to borrow the money, as soon as it will be wanted.
But the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Cushing] seemed to think that, if he could prove Treasury notes to be evidences of debt, he had then demonstrated that this bill presented only a question as to the particular form of security by which that debt is to be evidenced. Sir, I admit that these Treasury notes are evidences of debt; and yet I am far from assenting to the other conclusion. I admit that, even in my view of the case, the Treasury notes will present evidences of debt, outstanding but not due at the end of the year, to the amount of nearly $7,000,000. The Treasury note was selected, not only as the cheapest and most convenient form of security upon which we could raise the money, but because under that form the public debt might be gradually paid as they were presented, in the process of collecting the revenue. If, then, we have secured the debt in a manner agreeable to the public creditor and convenient to ourselves, why should we now borrow money not to pay, but to change the debt before it is due ? Why borrow $12,000,000, if $7,000,000 be all that we should ultimately owe ? And why, if we determine even to change the form of the debt, raise the money before the Government can have the opportunity to redeem these notes, even if it had the means ?---[The same old (same old) methods will be used in 1866 to turn Treasury notes into long bonds]
These notes will not be presented until they cease to bear interest; and the Treasury would probably have no chance to redeem them, except in small parcels, until towards the close of the year. But is it a question as to the mere form in which we shall secure the debt ? Does not the power to re-issue $5,000,000 in these Treasury notes endure through the year; and is there any proposition to take it away ? Unless the $12,000,000 is borrowed on the supposition that a part of it will be wanted to supply the place of the Treasury notes which will come in during the year, it is a naked proposition to raise money upon loan, under pretense of paying a debt a year before it will be presented or can be discharged.
If this bill pass, sir, it will, with the existing laws, give the Secretary the power to borrow $17,000,000, viz: $12,000,000 under the bill, and $5,000,000 under the Treasury note act of 1841. It is, therefore, no question as to the form of security for the debt, but a simple proposition to increase the power to borrow.
But, Mr. Chairman, shall we require this loan of $12,000,000, even if we permit the Secretary to expend all that he asks, except so much as we can demonstrate either cannot or ought not to be expended ? He proposes an expenditure of $31,708,502; from this deduct the means of the year, $25,489,119, and we have a balance of $6,219,383. But this balance includes the new appropriations asked by the War Department, which amounts to $2,521,336. I am not yet satisfied that any portion of these appropriations will be necessary; but if we allow the item of $825,637 for the suppression of Indian hostilities, the residue, which is asked for fortifications old and new, for armaments, and for surveys of roads, surely cannot be a just demand upon the Treasury, in its present state, and at the present session, called for extraordinary purposes.
Deducting these items, which amount to $1,695,498, from the above balance of $6,219,383, and it is reduced to $4,523,885. This balance is again subject to a reduction of $1,110,000 for the redemption of Treasury notes, as before stated; and we have left $3,413,885. To this add $1,000,000 for surplus means in the Treasury, and we have $4,413,885 as the maximum which, under any reasonable view, as it seems to me, ought to be borrowed.
But, sir, may it not depend upon the further action of this House, whether a loan, even for this amount, will be necessary ? The Secretary recommends (and the majority have been swift heretofore to follow his recommendations) that we should lay a duty of twenty per cent. upon nearly all of the articles now imported free of duty. This tax, he supposes, will add to the revenues of the present year $5,252,388 a sum more than sufficient to cover the maximum deficiency as I have just found it. Should this tax be laid, how shall we justify ourselves in making a loan of $12,000,000, irredeemable for ten years, when even that amount of debt could be extinguished by the means thus furnished within two years, and without a resort to the public lands ?
Under a general view, then, of the liabilities and resources of the Government, I cannot see a pretext for borrowing a cent at this time, even without the proposed taxation, and especially with it, unless it be that the Secretary has crowded most of the expenditures within one quarter of the year. This, sir, is a matter of administration; and it is manifest that a Secretary might thus create a large, though temporary deficiency, even if the means exceeded the charges of the year by the $4,000,000 which he has asked as a surplus. If we continue to make new appropriations, and justify the expenditure of unprecedented amounts of the old, we shall hardly avoid the mischiefs of this capricious mode of administering the finances, by any means which we are likely to afford, extravagant as some of our measures have been and may be.
If the provisions of law, Mr. Chairman, afford an extravagant Secretary the power of wasteful expenditure, the only mode of restraining him is by limiting his means to what is necessary and proper.
But, sir, the recommendations of the Secretary of the Treasury are so manifestly extravagant and unnecessary, in a financial point of view, that I am forced to look to other objects for the motives which impel him. Why is it that he seeks to involve his Department in embarrassments which do not belong to it ? Why this recommendation for more than thirty millions of funded debt, when no one can see the necessity that requires it ? Why this disposition to depart from all precedent in the expenditure of so large an amount of the outstanding appropriations ? And why the recommendation, in the present condition of the Treasury, to give away the proceeds of the public lands, and thus throw the whole taxation upon the import trade ?
It cannot be for the purpose of exhibiting to the world how much money he can induce the American people to expend. He cannot wish to contract debt for the mere pleasure of owing the money. His purposes are deeper than these. If our expenditures are extravagant; if a large debt be funded, irredeemable for years, although we might have the means of extinguishing it sooner; and if our revenues are to be derived from customs alone it is obvious that the pretence and the plea will be thus furnished for a high and protective tariff.
Nor is this all, sir. It has been well said that the capital for a National Bank could not be paid in specie, without a distress and pressure which might render the institution unpopular at its commencement. But, on the other hand, if its capital should consist of stocks, it would go into operation smoothly. Thirty-one millions of United States stock will furnish the means to start it; and the deposites arising from large revenues, together with the permanent surplus of $4,000,000, will make it profitable to the shareholders. Much, then, sir, as I object to this loan bill as a mere financial measure, I am still more opposed to it when I connect it with the system of which it is a part, and which seems to have been the primary object in the Secretary's recommendations.. There a no necessity for creating thirty-one millions of stock, and no intelligible reason for proposing it, unless it be to build up that gigantic system of plunder, which a Bank, a tariff, and a distribution of the public lands, will afford the means of constructing a series of measures which must result, as I have said, in an entire revolution of our Government. Silent it will be peaceful it may be; but a revolution, deep and entire, in the sprit of our institutions, in the policy of the country, and in the distribution of the power which is to govern it.
Mr. Chairman, I say it under a sense of all the responsibilities which belong to the occasion; but if this system be permanently fastened upon us, it must result in a revolution; which is to take the power of this Government from the many, and place it all yes, all, sir in the hands of the few. And am I to be deterred from expressing my sense of the enormities of such a system, with a full recollection of all that my section of country has felt, and is likely to feel again, under some of its oppressions, from fear of being charged with disloyalty to the Union ? Why, sir, my friend from South Carolina [Mr. Pickens] suggested, the other day, that unequal taxation, and even equal taxation with unequal disbursements, was an evil under any Government; but particularly so in ours, where the interests were so diversified and the territory so extensive. And when he used this consideration as an argument against excessive taxation and a protective system, which taxed the people twice once for the Government and once for the protected class he was severely taken to task by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Sergeant,] as having argued against the Union. It was said by him, sir, (if I understood the drift of his argument,) that the power to borrow money existed under the Constitution; and to protest against its present exercise, on account of any unequal operation it might have, was to attack the constitution itself. Nay, sir, the very exposition of the evils of unequal disbursements, although used as an argument for caution and moderation in the exercise of a great and often disturbing power, was treated as a proof of a want of attachment to the Union; and the insane speculations of a foreign reviewer, conceived either in ignorance or malice, were held up as a "mirror" to reflect what ? Either the feelings which were supposed to exist in the gentleman's own mind, or the feelings which his remarks were likely to awaken in others, and the effects they would produce.
Upon this mode of reasoning, we can never oppose the exercise of any power vested in us, upon considerations of expediency, without being liable to the same imputations. Why, sir, we have the power to declare war against any of the nations or the earth; and if such a proposition were now made, I could not oppose its justice or expediency, I could neither weigh its consequences nor consider its horrors, without exposing myself to such charges. If I oppose this, or any other system, on account of its unequal operation nay, sir, if I were to go even to the daring and presumptuous length of complaining that it was unjust in a sectional point of view, am I to receive the suggestions of the gentleman from Pennsylvania as a hint to submit without murmur, or else to prepare for the horrors of civil and of servile war, which that foreign and hired libeler of Southern, ay, and of Northern feeling, has foretold for us ?
Sir, I like not these dark outpourings, these gloomy fancies, these mysterious hints; they savor too much of an argument addressed to my fears, to induce me to submit to that to which my reason and sense of justice may not assent. But I ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania if it is wise, if it is statesmanlike, to shut our eyes to the evils which may exist in the Government that we administer ? Is it not rather a duty to detect them, that we may remove them if we have the power; or watch over and mitigate their tendencies, if their existence be inevitable ? Is it not a poor compliment to the understanding of our people, if we suppose that they would abandon their institutions, merely because they are not perfect ?
Sir, I will take the risk of all the imputations which the gentleman from Pennsylvania, or even the Edinburgh Review, may cast upon those who utter the sentiment. I reaffirm the proposition of my friend from South Carolina, that even equal taxation, with unequal disbursements, is an evil to some extent a necessary evil, I admit; but when carried beyond the necessity of the case, unjustifiable; and when pushed to great lengths, often insupportable. He who denies that this is an evil, not only here, but in all Governments, must shut his ears to the voice of history, and close his eyes to the lights of experience. The inequality either in taxation or disbursement is intimately connected with that greatest of all problems in political science I mean the question as to the distribution of wealth. It is this, sir, which from the first organization of human society has disturbed it most deeply. It has divided parties; it has overthrown Governments; it has convulsed, and sometimes disorganized society itself. The question whether the distribution of wealth shall be regulated by industry and skill, or by the artificial distinctions of law, is that upon which mainly depends the stability of every Government and the happiness of every people. The one mode of distribution uses the selfish instinct to stimulate productive agencies to their highest degree of energy, and for the most beneficial purposes; whilst the other, inviting it to plunder, turns man upon his brother, either in open war, or in the more silent but scarcely less deadly conflicts of selfish and unjust legislation.
Who does not see that there is a necessary connection between this and the question of unequal taxation and disbursement; and hence have arisen the great contests which have disturbed the social condition of man, not only here, but elsewhere ? It is not, sir, as has been said, a contest between capital and labor, or between property and numbers, but between the tax-consuming and the tax-paying parties. By the tax-consuming party, I mean those who receive more money from the Government than they contribute to it; and by the tax-paying, those who contribute more than they receive; the one looking to Government for the means of living; the other viewing it as a necessary but expensive instrument for the protection of persons and property; the one interested to have the revenues as large and the disbursements as unequal as possible; the other interested in equal disbursements, and in paying as little as may be consistent with the attainment of the great moral ends for which alone they value their Government. In proportion as the former prevail, the incentives to industry diminish, and the moral feeling of the people is depressed.
The few who administer the Government, and lay taxes for the mere purpose of consuming them, divide the great mass of those opposed to them, by leading one class or one section of the country to plunder another. But when they have thus rendered the honest returns of labor and the rights of property insecure, the people, forsaking the arts of industry, use the ballot-box for the means of living; and, sinking under indolence and depravity, either fall before the pressure of invasion from without, or seek relief from the oppressions of the few, by submitting to the despotism of one. These parties have existed, and will exist, in all Governments. The history of their contests is
Speech of Mr. Charles G. Atherton (D)
[Charles Gordon Atherton (July 4, 1804 - November 15, 1853);
Representative from 1830 to 1843; studied law, admitted to the bar]
of New Hampshire.
Mr. Atherton said:
Mr. Chairman: I certainly concur with the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Dawson] who has just addressed the committee, that it is best on all occasions to deal openly and candidly with the people, and to attempt to practise on them no concealments nor disguises. I believe the people desire this treatment, and will, at once, be suspicious of those who pursue a contrary course. And to nothing are these remarks more strongly applicable, as it seems to me, than to the various attempts which have been made here and elsewhere, to charge upon the late Administration the fact of creating a large public debt. The people are intelligent as well as honest, and when this accusation is brought forward, they will inquire whether its authors are consistent and uniform in the calculations on which they base the charge. If they find one person stating the debt at one amount, and another at one quite different, they will very reasonably suspect there is some delusion in all the statements, and that none can be safely relied upon.
Sir, the course of the friends of the Administration has been most extraordinary on this subject. They seem to have determined upon the conclusion that the country has been plunged in debt by the late Administration, but differ altogether in the methods by which they arrive at this satisfactory result. The report of the Secretary of the Treasury that document which ought to give to the House and the country a full and clear and intelligible account of the finances, seems to have led his friends to variant and contradictory conclusions. From one part of the report, the inference has been attempted, in the public prints, and even here, that this cherished debt is thirty-one millions of dollars. From reference to another portion of the same document, the sum has been settled at sixteen millions, while another explorer returns from his voyage of financial discovery with the cheering fact that the debt is only something like twelve millions. This latter sum is that which it is now generally conceded the Secretary indicates in his report as the amount of "debt and deficit," (mark, sir, not of debt;) and is that recognised by the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, who is the authoritative exponent of the subject on this floor.
One remarkable fact cannot escape our observation. The Secretary of the Treasury, although he devotes a portion of his report to "the public debt," does not condescend to give us information as to its amount. Is not this almost incredible ? He, the officer who has the means of giving this information, and whose duty it is to disclose to us the true condition of the Treasury, though he enlarges much upon a public debt, does, in no part of his report, definitely state what that debt is. Can there be any excuse for this, except that the debt, exactly stated, would seem so trifling and inconsiderable, compared with that created by the splendid imaginations of his friends, as to be quite unworthy of particular notice ? I do not assert, for I do not know, that the design was to leave the matter still in doubt and mystery, and thus still give play to those fertile imaginations, but I say such has been the effect of this unprecedented course. Nor can I for a moment believe that, if the amount of the public debt were as great as any, the least of those sums so frequently repeated by gentlemen of the Administration party, the Secretary could have been so deficient in duty as not to inform Congress particularly of so important a fact.
To those who were here at the session of last winter, these endeavors to inculcate the idea of a large debt are not new. They were then commenced, and have ever since been sedulously continued. Perhaps it would be going too far to say of gentlemen, that their wish was "father to their thought;" but it certainly is demonstrable from their own data, that no ground then existed, or now exists, for their contradictory and monstrous results. They stand condemned by each other. They stand condemned and exposed by the report of their own Secretary, which, so far as it proves any thing, overthrows and scatters to the winds all their calculations calculations which, though brought forward with all the parade of mathematical accuracy, are figurative in more senses than one. None who were here can forget the exhibit made last winter by the gentleman from New York, [Mr. Barnard] which gave currency to the assertion that this debt was forty millions of dollars. I learn that the gentleman from New York has disclaimed having intended to be so understood. That I may do him no injustice I have procured a copy of his speech, as reported by himself, and will read extracts from the portion to which I refer. The introduction to his statement is as follows:
"But the President thinks himself justified in declaring on the whole, that this Government has 'relieved declaring itself entirely from debt.' I am not able to flatter myself so much in regard to this item in our financial condition, as the ominous statements which I hold in my hand, and will now present, may serve to show."
Then follows the statement, headed: "Statement of the public debt, regarded as ascertained and certain, existing on the 1st of January, 1841, though the amounts may not be exact."
The items are then given, including $9,000,000 for the fourth installment under the deposite act of 1836, and $5,000,000 for claims on account of French spoliations, prior to 1800. The statement concludes
"So that the whole amount of indebtedness and liabilities on account of past transactions, was, on the first of January, 1841, probably not less than $36,015,000."
There was also another estimate presented by the gentleman from New York on that occasion, which was the second of his "ominous" statements. It was headed "Estimate of the probable amount of public debt and liabilities, growing out of past transactions, for which the Administration of the next four years may have to provide, being over and above all current expenditures;" and this latter estimate, including $5,000,000 as a "sum necessary to provide a suitable average balance in the Treasury," is summed up at $40,380,000.
The statements were characterized by the gentleman from New York as "ominous statements," tending to show the "fallacy" of the position of the President that the country had relieved itself from debt, and the first headed "statement of the public debt regarded as ascertained and certain."
It is proper to admit that there is one footing, before the close of the first statement, of "amount of actual debt" $16,515,000.
Estimates, to be credible, must not only reach the same results, but the items which make, up those results must agree. Taking even that conclusion of the gentleman from New York, is he supported by the Secretary ? No, sir. True, in one portion of the Secretary's report there is an estimated amount of debt and deficit of $16,088,215. But how is this sum made up ? By including four millions to be raised to be kept in the Treasury, and about three millions for new appropriations of this extra session, and other items varying from those pressed into service in the conjectures of the gentleman from New York. The Secretary agrees with the gentleman from New York neither in his result nor his items.
There has been another estimate published with quite an authoritative air, making this chameleon-like debt eighteen millions. The gentleman from Georgia has worked out the problem at fourteen millions and thus, as I have said, gentlemen agree in nothing except an attempt to inculcate the belief that the late Administration has bequeathed to the present an enormous load of public debt. Sir, these varying statements cannot all be true, and the people can never rely on any of them. The subject is a matter of figures, and statements in relation to it must be characterized by exactness and uniformity, in order to gain or deserve confidence with an intelligent community. Seeing these fatal discrepancies, how can we trust to any of these estimates ? They are, all of them, as I shall hereafter endeavor to show, baseless as "the fabric of a vision."
It is well known that previous to the late Presidential election, the whole country rung with charges made against the Administration, by the party then seeking office, of extravagance and profligate expenditures. What do we now see ? Have these economical and reforming gentlemen brought forward any system of retrenchment ? No. But, on the contrary, every measure proposed by them looks to expenditures on a scale of extravagance heretofore unheard of.
Is it possible that when last winter these monstrous estimates of the sums the present Administration would be obliged to expend, were thrown out, it was for the purpose of paving the way for this premeditated extravagance ? How soon after the Presidential election was the note changed ! It deserves remembrance that at the last session a distinguished member of the House, now in the other end of the Capitol, [Mr. Evans of Maine,] denounced the Administration as niggardly and parsimonious, and as neglecting to provide for the great interests of the country; and ridiculed the late Secretary of the Treasury for alluding to a "vigorous reduction of expenditures" as one means of increasing our revenue. The gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. Wise] in reply, reminded him of the adage of Franklin, that "a penny saved is a penny gained," and he might have also added the authority of a Roman classic, who said, "Magnum, est vecligal parsimonia." It is a matter of regret that those in power seem not to be alive to the truth of these maxims.
Besides the remarkable manner in which the Secretary makes out a deficit for the year, and then includes debt and deficit together in one gross sum, no where pointing out the amount of the debt, his method of reaching his total of "debt and deficit" is surprisingly curious. He includes $4,000,000 for a balance to be kept in the Treasury. And we are now asked to borrow that sum, and pay interest upon it, and expense of negotiating the loan, that this balance may be put into the coffers of a new fiscal Bank, to be traded upon, or serve the purposes of speculation to officers of the Government, or to bankers and brokers, by being placed in other Bank depositories.
Again: He includes appropriations which are called for by the present Administration at this extra session, and which the late Administration did not require for the service of the year. In other words, to make a deficit, he includes the sum of $2,521,336, for what this Administration wishes now to be authorized to expend. It is capable of demonstration that under a prudent and economical administration of the Government, the means were amply sufficient for the service of the year, and that there was no necessity of this called session for supplying those means.
By adding $4,000,000, the sum proposed to be kept in the Treasury, the Secretary calls his estimated deficit ....$16,088,215.18
Deduct this sum, of which the Secretary acknowledges there is no necessity so long as the power to issue Treasury notes exists ....4,000,000.00
And we have ....$12,088,215.18
Deduct Treasury notes payable next year .... 6,087,274.04
And there remains ....$6,000,941.14
Deduct, further, the sum asked for new appropriations of this session 2,521,326.98
A further deduction should be made for means omitted by the Secretary
Money in mints ....$215,151.88
Treasury notes included in the sum of $1,110,611.08 as demands on this year, not due or payable till the next, and which will not come in till then at least ...1,000,000.00
By a document transmitted to the Senate, the Secretary acknowledges a mistake in his estimate of means of ...619,136.47
All these deductions leave ....$1,645,315.81
A further deduction ought to be made on account of another error in setting down about $500,000 of Treasury notes, which were redeemed previous to March, as a charge upon the remaining ten months, which would leave the deficit little more than a million. But as this error has not been acknowledged by the Secretary, and I wish to proceed on his own data, it is left out of the amount.
Here, then, on the Secretary's own estimates of expenditures for the year, is the real amount of this formidable deficit. But, sir, need there be any deficit ? How is even this to be produced ? Why, by swelling the estimates of expenditures for the year to an extravagant amount. The appropriations for the year, as is demonstrated by the history of the past, furnish the best guide for the expenditures of the year. The appropriations for this year were only from eighteen to nineteen millions of dollars. But taking the sum of twenty millions, which was the largest amount of expenditures for the year of both new and old appropriations proposed by the late Administration, the means for the year are ample. They are stated, up to the 4th of March, by Mr. Ewing's report, at $5,199,885.10. For the remainder of the year at 20,083,592.72. Add the amount of the acknowledged error of the Secretary 619,136.47. Means of the year $25,902,614.29.
A sum which no one can doubt would have been fully sufficient to meet the expenditures at the rate of twenty millions for the year, and redeem all the Treasury notes falling due within the year, and leave a balance in the Treasury at its expiration. The sum proposed to be expended by the Secretary cannot be expended without reducing the amount of the outstanding appropriations at the end of the year greatly below their amount at its commencement. All who understand the operations of the Treasury Department can easily conceive that it is possible to create a deficit at any given future day. It is only necessary, in order to effect this, to exhaust the Treasury by placing large sums in the hands of the disbursing officers and agents of the Government.
No one understands this better than the present Secretary of War, for he at a former time introduced a resolution in this House, and entered on investigations for the purpose of fixing such a practice on the late Administration. The estimates for expenditures for the military establishment in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, must strike all as unnecessarily large. It is scarcely possible that the amount can be prudently and properly expended. I have said, sir, that under an economical administration of the Government, it is demonstrable that the means of the year were sufficient, and that there was no necessity for this called session to supply any deficiency in the Treasury. Has not this been, in effect, admitted here ? Why, sir, the gentleman from Kentucky, [Mr. Underwood] on occasion of offering a resolution at the beginning of the session on the subject of a Bank, said he wished to test the sense of the House; and if he should ascertain that we could not pass a Bank, he was ready immediately to adjourn and go home. It is not, then, to meet any exigencies of the Treasury that this session has been called, however convenient an excuse such alleged necessity might furnish.
But, sir, what is the rate of expenditure as proposed for the present year in the report of the Secretary, in order to make out his deficit ?
The expenditures previous to the 4th of March, are set down at ... $4,627,166.44
Required of old appropriations to complete the year ... 24,210,000.00
We thus have the sum, aside from the new appropriations asked at this extra session, of ... $28,837,166.44
Add these, amounting to ... 2,521,336.98
And we have the startling amount of ....$31,358,503.42
The Secretary's estimate of expenditures for the three months of June, July, and August, is still more excessive, being ...$11,151,693.37
Which, multiplied by 4
Gives, as the rate for the year, the very moderate sum of ... $44,606,773.48
But the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means remarked that probably the estimates of expenditures by the Secretary are not too high, and that it was fortunate we had the means of testing his accuracy in the item of the expenses of the extra session. The Secretary, he said, had estimated them at only $350,000, whereas, we have already appropriated $394,000. I shall be agreeably disappointed if they do not exceed even that sum, and run up to half a million. If this is to be a test of the accuracy of the Secretary, the result cannot be considered very gratifying.
Nor do I conceive that this too low estimate in this respect proves the other estimates to be also too low, for in palliation of this departure from exactness, it may be suggested as natural that, since his friends are responsible for the extra session, the Secretary should wish so far as he could consistently with truth, to impress the country with the idea that these expenses were not to be of great amount, while with regard to those estimates which go to make out the necessity for the call of Congress together, an opposite feeling might be supposed to operate.
The gentleman from New York made one complaint against the late Administration as tending to show the necessity of large expenditures, worthy of notice that various works of internal improvement had been neglected and discontinued, and even the implements sold. This complaint comes certainly not with a very good grace from those who have talked so loudly about economy. The discontinuance of these works was one of the measures of retrenchment and economy of the late Administration, and was owing to the rejection by its friends in Congress of appropriations for their prosecution; on account of a general belief of their unconstitutionality and inexpediency. When we hear such complaints when we remember the mortal aversion which many gentlemen on the other side entertain towards any thing like a strict construction of the Constitution, and regard the inevitable tendency which an increased and extended exercise of the powers of the General Government must have to increase its expenditures can any thing else be expected but an enormous enlargement of those expenditures, and wasteful appropriations of the public money producing no corresponding benefit.
For it is a fact taught by experience, and resulting from the nature of things, that works of this sort are carried on disadvantageously and ruinously by the General Government, and even in view of economy alone, are much more safely left to State, corporate, or individual enterprise.
Nor can I agree with the gentleman from New York in the opinion which he seems to intimate, that the Government ought not to be obliged to come, from session to session, to Congress, and ask for means in the shape of Treasury notes, as if it were derogatory to its dignity to be obliged to ask this of the Representatives of the people. It is the people who are masers of the Government, and not the Government of the people. The doctrine that the Government ought to be provided profusely and largely with funds, is directly adverse to the practise of economy. Nothing with individuals or with nations tends more to economy than an income limited within reasonable bounds. A redundant Treasury not only conduces to wastefulness and extravagance, as experience has too well shown, but it is no proof of prosperity. From the people the money comes which increases the funds of the Treasury; and thus the richer the Government, the poorer must be the people. In time of peace, I never wish to see a redundant revenue, nor an overflowing Treasury. The best place for the money is the pockets of the people.
From whence the money is to be derived, no one can doubt. It is to come from the consumers, by this process of taxation by which the poor man who consumes as much in his family as his wealthy neighbor, pays an equal tax, not a proportion to his comparative poverty, but equal in amount. As a necessary result of these measures, there is already a bill before the Committee of Ways and Means proposing a duty of 20 per cent. ad valorem, not on luxuries merely, (for we have heard a great deal here about taxing silks and champagne) but on the necessaries of life, such as tea, coffee, sugar, molasses, the spices which are in common use, and various other articles. Yes, you borrow the money, and pay interest for it, and give brokers a commission for negotiating a loan, part of it you are to keep as a source of profit for bankers by calling it a balance in your Treasury; another portion you are to give to the States, for the sake of taxing the people of those States, not in the amount alone which you give the State, but to that amount, and a sum in addition sufficient to pay the expense of collecting the tax; distributing the money, and satisfying interest and commissions. Where you give a State one hundred dollars, you will take from the people of that State one hundred and twenty. And all, it would seem, for the purpose of carrying to its utmost extent this system of taxation which falls on the consumer, and imposing a high tariff which shall promote one interest at the expense of another.
Taxation is taxation, no matter by what name you may call it, and to impose high taxes on the people, and then term it "protection," is only adding insult to injury. Nor can I agree at all with the remarks made by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Sergeant] that to argue against heavy taxation from its inequality, is to argue against the Constitution and Union. If taxation by the General Government, is at best unequal in its operation, this presents a wrong and unanswerable reason for economy, and for keeping the operations of the Government within the limits prescribed by the Constitution.
Has it come to this, that no arguments against unequal and oppressive taxation of the people are to be urged here ? Sir, I deny that such arguments evince any want of respect for the Constitution or the Union, but directly the contrary. These are the true disunionists who are constantly striving that the General Government should assume powers never conferred, and all whose measures tend to consolidation and centralization, "which is but another name for tyranny," and to overwhelm and destroy the rights of the State Governments which Jefferson has called, "those surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies." They are true disunionists, because such measures, persevered in against the letter and spirit of the compact which binds the States together, must inevitably in the end produce reaction and resistance, among a people jealous of their rights.
I have said, Mr. Chairman, that this bill is a proposition to borrow money for the purpose of giving it to the States. It is also thus in effect a proposition to borrow money for the purpose of assuming the debts of the States. The arguments offered in favor of the distribution bill by its friends, show the correctness of this position. The most prominent of these arguments, and that which has been iterated and reiterated, is drawn from the indebtedness of the State Governments. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Saltonstall] in his remarks on the measure now under consideration has alluded to that distribution as a great and "most beneficial measure to relieve the embarrassment of the States." How are the States to be relieved from embarrassments, unless by the discharge of their debts ? And what is the difference whether the General Government enables the States to do this, or does it directly for the States ? In connection with this, the remarkable letters from European bankers on the subject, which have lately been communicated to the Senate, cannot escape our attention.
The message of the President to the Senate, of June 29, 1841, encloses the following letter from the Secretary of State:
DEPARTMENT OF State,
Washington, June 24, 1841.
"The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the Senate of the 14th instant, requesting the President of the United States to 'inform the Senate, if any application has been made officially to him, or the State, or Treasury Department, by the holders of State stocks, or others on their account, respecting the payment or assumption of them; and to furnish copies of any correspondence which taken place in relation to the subject,' has the honor to report to the President, that various letters relating to the subject of State stocks have been received at this Department, copies of which, and of the papers communicated with them, are hereunto annexed, to wit: from Messrs. de Rothschild and Sons bankers of the United States in London, dated the 2d of April, 1841, addressed to the late President of the United States; extract of a letter from the same to the Secretary of State, dated the 7th of April; letter from Joshua Bates to the Secretary of State, dated the 25th of May, extract of a letter from de Rothschild and Sons, dated the 26th of May; letter to the Secretary of State from the Charge d'Affaires of the United States at the Hague, dated the 14th of May; letter from Henry J. Williams to the Secretary of State, dated 14th of June.
"These letters not appearing to require any answers, none have been given.
"Respectfully submitted."To the PRESIDENT."
In the letter of N.M. Rothschild and Sons to President Harrison, of April 2, 1841, in reference to the debt of Indiana, are the following passages:
"The unfavorable reports which have been circulated in respect to the inadequate provision for the payment of the interest, have already had a material effect in depressing the stock of Indiana, and the price has fallen ten to fifteen per cent. If the non-payment should be actually allowed to take place, we apprehend the consequences would be extremely prejudicial, and would not only be strongly felt in the case of the credit of this individual State, but doubtless also in that of the credit of all the States of the Union, and, we fear, would greatly injure, likewise, the commercial credit of the country."
"The high sense expressed in your inaugural address of the importance of the various States of the Union maintaining their credit by the fulfilment of their engagements, and the enlightened views expressed in regard to the intimate connection of their proceedings with the honor of the Republic, have produced much general satisfaction and approbation; and, although aware how much the great concerns you have to direct must engross your attention, we are emboldened by those favorable sentiments to bring to your notice the circumstance of the deficiency in the means of the State of Indiana for the payment of her next dividend. A word from you, or the least interposition in her favor, could not fail to afford relief in the present exigency; and, it appears to us that, in order to be effective, SOME MEASURE should be adopted with as little delay as possible."
Extract of a letter from N.M. Rothschild and Sons to the Secretary of State, dated London, April 7, 1841, on the same subject.
"If the non-payment of the said dividend were permitted to take place, the consequences would be extremely prejudicial to the financial and commercial credit of America, as it would be an unprecedented instance of one of the States of the Union failing in the fulfilment of her engagement to her creditors; and we consider it of so much importance that an occurrence of this nature should be avoided, that we are induced to recommend it to the attention of the Federal Government."
"We beg leave, therefore, to represent to you, that any interposition in her behalf would require to be prompt, in order to be effectual."
Letter from Joshua Bates to the Secretary of State, dated New York, May 25, 1841.
SIR: By request of the parties interested, I beg to enclose the copy of a memorial that I have received, signed by the proprietors of Mississippi stock in London, addressed to the Governor of that State. I am requested to desire you will be so kind as to lay the same before the President, and to do all in your power to induce that State to comply with its engagements.
"To the Hon. Daniel Webster,
"Secretary of State."
Extract of a letter from N.M. Rothschild and Sons, to the Secretary of State, dated London, May 26, 1841, in relation to Mississippi bonds.
"We consider, therefore, that this a case of the utmost importance in a financial as well as commercial view, to the national character and credit of the United States, from the general expectations which are entertained that your able administration will pursue a sound policy, honorable as well as advantageous to the Republic, and from the high opinion we have formed of your enlightened views and zealous regard for the real interests of your country, we have no doubt that you will deem an occurrence of this nature worthy of particular attention," &c.
There is also a letter from H.J. Williams, dated June 14, 1841, to the Secretary of State, and a similar one to the Secretary of the Treasury, enclosing a memorial from the holders of the bonds issued by the Bank of Pensacola, addressed to the Governor and Council of the Territory of Florida, with an extract of a letter from Messrs. Gowan and Maix, by whom these memorials were forwarded to this country:
Extract from the latter of Henry J. Williams.Extract of a letter from Gowan and Maix, dated
"The General Government have always been so scrupulous in discharging their admitted obligations, that the memorialists cannot be mistaken in believing that they will take care that their dependencies shall fulfil the contracts into which they have entered, especially as the laws made upon their credit have actually been expended in the construction of public improvements which must, at some period, prove highly beneficial to the whole community."
"London, May 26, 1841.
"We beg of you, in forwarding the copies to Mr. Webster and Ewing, to urge upon them this view of the case, in addition to that on which all Americans should be most sensitive, viz: good faith with the public creditor, which should be equally dear to them with their liberty, and which, unless preserved untarnished, must prove a fatal bar to their future prosperity; and in a complicated Government like that of the United States, the dishonor of one member cannot but reflect on the whole."
[Mr. Fillmore here desired that the reply of Mr. Ewing to the letter of Mr. Williams should be read]
Mr. Atherton read it as follows:
TREASURY Department, June 18, 1841.
"SIR: I have received your letter of the 14th instant, enclosing copies of certain papers, purporting to have been received from Messrs. Gowan and Maix of London, relative to the bonds of the Bank of Pensacola. I am not aware that this Department has the slightest interest or duty in the matter except the general desire that every engagement made by corporations or individuals may be strictly fulfilled."
Now, sir, it is well known by every one that the "Treasury Department" could not act efficiently in the premises, however much they might be influenced by a "general" or particular "desire" that these engagements should be strictly fulfilled, unless in obedience to some action of Congress.
But does the Secretary of the Treasury plainly and explicitly state that the General Government is only liable for debts contracted by itself, and can only be held responsible for such ? And what was the course of Mr. Webster with regard to these most surprising letters addressed to the late President and to himself. The reply is given in his own words:
"These letters not appearing to require any answers, none have been given."
Does silence give assent to the monstrous doctrines of those letters ? It seems to me that no letters could require a reply if these did not, and it was, as I conceive, a gross dereliction of duty that a suitable response was not given. These European bankers should have been informed at once that this General Government has no constitutional power to pay the debts of the States, and is in no wise responsible for them.
We surely ought to be much obliged to these foreigners for their anxious solicitude for the honor of this General Government for their "apprehensions of prejudicial consequences" to our credit their regard for the national character of the United States, and their high opinion of the "enlightened views and zealous regard for the real interests" of the country entertained by some of our statesmen; as also for their lectures to us inculcating the doctrine that good faith with the public creditor should be equally dear to us with liberty, and that "in a complicated Government like that of the United States, the dishonor of one member cannot but reflect upon the whole."
"If he supposes the Governments of Europe are going to give us credit for honor and integrity while a sovereign State refuses to pay its debts, he is mistaken."
Does it not follow, that in order to support our "credit for honor and integrity," we must ourselves act in behalf of the States ? True the gentleman disclaims being an advocate for assumption, but I cannot do so much injustice to his lucid understanding as to suppose him not to perceive that his sentiments imply that the General Government has some obligation incumbent upon it in relation to these State debts.
The gentleman from New York characterized the subject as "one to be looked to by this Government, and this whole people, and that may come upon us sooner than we are aware;" and further, he exclaimed, "we may talk about State rights the Governments of Europe DO NOT, and OUGHT NOT, to understand our doctrines on that subject !" A "subject to be looked to by this Government !" Why, unless the Government has the power to act in relation to it ? Why "OUGHT NOT" the Governments of Europe to "understand our doctrines of State rights," unless because they have a right to hold the General Government liable, and, of course, because there is some responsibility resting upon the General Government to assume, guaranty, or discharge the debts ? And was this silence of the Secretary of State caused by the consideration that the Governments of Europe "ought not" to understand the position of the General Government on this subject ?
Sir, I repeat that I cannot but consider such language as "ominous" of attempts, to say the least, at still further progress in the direction of entire assumption, towards which the distribution bill is the first step, rather let me say, stride.
I am opposed to this twelve million loan, be cause it is entirely unnecessary, and can only serve as the commencement of a large national debt in time of peace. I know the desire of such a debt is frequently disclaimed, as is also the doctrine that a national debt is a national blessing; and I certainly do not impute to gentlemen sentiments opposite to their professions. But were I for building up a splendid central consolidated Government for a magnificent scheme of internal improvements to be carried on by the General Government for a high tariff, which should enrich the few at the expense of the many were it my desire to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, by taxing equally poor and rich to benefit the latter and weaken the former, then would I favor the creation of a national debt, and vote for this bill as an entering wedge to such a system.
[The CHAIRMAN here intimated that the hour allowed by the rule had expired.]
2. William R. King (D) 3. Clement C. Clay (D), until November 15, 1841
Arkansas William Fulton (D) Ambrose Sevier (D)
Connecticut Perry Smith (D) Jabez W. Huntington (W)
Delaware Richard H. Bayard (W) Thomas Clayton (W)
Georgia Alfred Cuthbert (D) John Berrien (W)
Illinois Richard M. Young (D) Samuel McRoberts (D)
Indiana Oliver H. Smith (W) Albert White (W)
Henry Clay (W), until March 31, 1842
John J. Crittenden (W), from March 31, 1842
James T. Morehead (W)
Alexander Mouton (D), until March 1, 1842 Alexander Barrow (W)
Reuel Williams (D), until February 15, 1843 George Evans (W)
Maryland William Merrick (W) John L. Kerr (W)
Massachusetts Isaac C. Bates (W) Rufus Choate (W)
Michigan Augustus S. Porter (W) William Woodbridge (W)
Mississippi Robert J. Walker (D) John Henderson (W)
Thomas Benton (D)
Lewis F. Linn (D)
Franklin Pierce (D), until February 28, 1842
Levi Woodbury (D)
New Jersey 1. Samuel L. Southard (W), until June 26, 1842 William L. Dayton (W), from July 2, 1842 2. Jacob W. Miller (W)
3. Silas Wright (D) (May 24, 1795 -- August 27, 1847); studied law, admitted to the bar
Nathaniel Pitcher Tallmadge (W) (1795-1864)
Senate Years of Service: 1833-1837; 1837-1839; 1839-1844
Party: Jacksonian; Democrat; Whig
Nathaniel Pitcher TALLMADGE, a Senator from New York; born in Chatham, Columbia County, N.Y., February 8, 1795; graduated from Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., in 1815; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1818 and commenced practice in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; member, State assembly 1828; member, State senate 1830-1833; elected as a Jacksonian to the United States Senate in 1833; reelected as a Democrat in 1839, and served from March 4, 1833, to June 17, 1844, when he resigned, having been appointed by President John Tyler to be Governor of Wisconsin Territory, with residence in Fond du Lac; served as Governor of Wisconsin Territory until his removal from office in May 1845; devoted himself to writing religious tracts; died in Battle Creek, Mich., November 2, 1864; interment in Rienzi Cemetery, Fond du Lac, Wis.
"There are still Tallmadges and Riveses in the democratic party. There always have been, and probably ever will be, men who love office and the honor of office, and their pockets, better than principles; men who will go with that party, or those men, who will pay best, afraid to take a bold stand in favor of truth, in the face of all opposition, all danger, and the worst consequences, and who hold on to a party, and go with it, very much as the 'cow boys' follow an army, for plunder--and not like the patriotic soldiers in the front rank, who fight manfully, and court danger in defence of their country. "There are such men at the present time in the democratic party; not a State in the Union but has them; and gradually, as circumstances occur, they show themselves, and go over into the ranks of the enemy. When they take this course, they do little mischief, but when they remain with the party and pretend to be democrats, while they support federal measures, they do much mischief--creating disunion, and retarding the progress of the principles which the great body of the party desire--independent of private considerations--and for which they labor."-- Bay State Democrat, 1842.
2. Willie Mangum (W)
3. William Graham (W)
Ohio 3. William Allen (D) 1. Benjamin Tappan (D)
James Buchanan (D) Daniel Sturgeon (D)
Nathan Dixon (W), until January 29, 1842
William Sprague (W), from February 18, 1842
James F. Simmons (W)
John C. Calhoun (D)
William C. Preston (W), until November 29, 1842
Tennessee 1. Alfred O.P. Nicholson (D), until February 7, 1842 2. vacant
Vermont Samuel Prentiss (W), until April 11, 1842 Samuel S. Phelps (W)
William C. Rives (W)
William S. Archer (W)
House of Representatives
At-large. Reuben Chapman (D) At-large. George S. Houston (D) At-large. Dixon H. Lewis (D) At-large. William W. Payne (D)
At-large. Benjamin Shields (D) Benjamin Glover Shields (1808 - 1850)
At-large. Edward Cross (D)
Connecticut All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. 1. Joseph Trumbull (W) 2. William Boardman (W) 3. Thomas W. Williams (W) 4. Thomas B. Osborne (W) 5. Truman Smith (W) 6. John H. Brockway (W)
Delaware At-large. George B. Rodney (W)
Georgia All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. Julius C. Alford (W), until October 1, 1841 Edward Black (D), from January 3, 1842 At-large. William Dawson (W), until November 13, 1841 Walter T. Colquitt (D), from January 3, 1842 At-large. Thomas Foster (W) At-large. Roger Gamble (W) At-large. Richard W. Habersham (W), until December 2, 1842 George W. Crawford (W), from January 7, 1843 At-large. Thomas Butler King (W) At-large. James Meriwether (W) At-large. Eugenius Nisbet (W), until October 12, 1841 Mark Cooper (D), from January 3, 1842 At-large. Lott Warren (W)
Illinois 1. John Reynolds (D) 2. Zadok Casey (Independent D) 3. John T. Stuart (W)
Indiana 1. George H. Proffit (W) 2. Richard W. Thompson (W) 3. Joseph L. White (W) 4. James H. Cravens (W) 5. Andrew Kennedy (D) 6. David Wallace (W) 7. Henry S. Lane (W)
Kentucky 1. Linn Boyd (D) 2. Philip Triplett (W) 3. Joseph R. Underwood (W) 4. Bryan Owsley (W) 5. John Thompson (W) 6. Willis Green (W) 7. John Pope (W) 8. James Sprigg (W) 9. John White (W) 10. Thomas F. Marshall (W) 11. Landaff Andrews (W) 12. Garrett Davis (W) 13. William Butler (D)
Louisiana 1. Edward White (W) 2. John Dawson (D) 3. John Moore (W)
Maine 1. Nathan Clifford (D) 2. William P. Fessenden (W) 3. Benjamin Randall (W) 4. David Bronson (W), from May 31, 1841 5. Nathaniel Littlefield (D) 6. Alfred Marshall (D) 7. Joshua A. Lowell (D) 8. Elisha Allen (W)
Isaac Jones (W) James Pearce (W) 3. James W. Williams (D), until December 2, 1842 Charles S. Sewall (D), from January 2, 1843 4. John P. Kennedy (W) 4. Alexander Randall (W) 5. William Cost Johnson (W) 6. John Mason (D) 7. Augustus Sollers (W)
Massachusetts 1. Robert Winthrop (W), until May 25, 1842 Nathan Appleton (W), from June 9, 1842 until September 28, 1842 Robert Winthrop (W), from November 29, 1842 2. Leverett Saltonstall (W) 3. Caleb Cushing (W) 4. William Parmenter (D) 5. Levi Lincoln, Jr. (W), until March 16, 1841 Charles Hudson (W), from May 3, 1841 6. Osmyn Baker (W) 7. George N. Briggs (W) 8. William B. Calhoun (W) 9. William S. Hastings (W), until June 17, 1842 10. Nathaniel B. Borden (W) 11. Barker Burnell (W) 12. John Quincy Adams (W)
Michigan At-large. Jacob M. Howard (W)
Mississippi All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. William M. Gwin (D) At-large. Jacob Thompson (D)
Missouri All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. John C. Edwards (D) At-large. John Miller (D)
New Hampshire All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. Charles G. Atherton (D) At-large. Edmund Burke (D) At-large. Ira A. Eastman (D) At-large. John R. Reding (D) At-large. Tristram Shaw (D)
New Jersey All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. John B. Aycrigg (W) At-large. William Halstead (W) At-large. John P. B. Maxwell (W) At-large. Joseph F. Randolph (W) At-large. Charles C. Stratton (W) At-large. Thomas J. Yorke (W)
Charles A. Floyd (D) 2. Joseph Egbert (D) 3. Charles G. Ferris (D) 3. John McKeon (D) 3. James I. Roosevelt (D) 3. Fernando Wood (D) 4. Aaron Ward (D) 5. Richard D. Davis (D) 6. James G. Clinton (D) 7. John Van Buren (D) 8. Jacob Houck, Jr. (D) 8. Robert McClellan (D) 9. Hiram P. Hunt (W) 10. Daniel D. Barnard (W) 11. Archibald L. Linn (W) 12. Bernard Blair (W) 13. Thomas A. Tomlinson (W) 14. Henry Van Rensselaer (W) 15. John Sanford (D) 16. Andrew W. Doig (D) 17. David P. Brewster (D) 17. John G. Floyd (D) 18. Thomas C. Chittenden (W) 19. Samuel S. Bowne (D) 20. Samuel Gordon (D) 21. John C. Clark (W) 22. Samuel Partridge (D) 22. Lewis Riggs (D) 23. Victory Birdseye (W) 23. A. Lawrence Foster (W) 24. Christopher Morgan (W) 25. John Maynard (W) 26. Francis Granger (W), until March 5, 1841 John Greig (W), from May 21, 1841 until September 25, 1841 Francis Granger (W), from November 27, 1841 27. William M. Oliver (D) 28. Timothy Childs (W) 29. Seth Gates (W) 30. John Young (W) 31. Staley N. Clarke (W) 32. Millard Fillmore (W) 33. Alfred Babcock (W)
1. Kenneth Rayner (W) 2. John Daniel (D) 3. Edward Stanly (W) 4. William Washington (W) 5. James McKay (D) 6. Archibald H. Arrington (D) 7. Edmund Deberry (W) 8. Romulus Saunders (D) 9. Augustine Shepperd (W) 10. Abraham Rencher (W) 11. Greene Caldwell (D) 12. James Graham (W) 13. Lewis Williams (W), until February 23, 1842 Anderson Mitchell (W), from April 27, 1842
1. Nathanael G. Pendleton (W) 2. John B. Weller (D) 3. Patrick Goode (W) 4. Jeremiah Morrow (W) 5. William Doan (D) 6. Calvary Morris (W) 7. William Russell (W) 8. Joseph Ridgway (W) 9. William Medill (D) 10. Samson Mason (W) 11. Benjamin S. Cowen (W) 12. Joshua Mathiot (W) 13. James Mathews (D) 14. George Sweeny (D) 15. Sherlock Andrews (W) 16. Joshua Giddings (W), until March 22, 1842 and from December 5, 1842 17. John Hastings (D) 18. Ezra Dean (D) 19. Samuel Stokely (W)
There were two plural districts, the 2nd had two representatives, the 4th had three representatives. 1. Charles Brown (D) 2. George Toland (W)
John Sergeant (Whig) (December 5, 1779 - November 23, 1852); studied law, admitted to the bar
Charles Jared Ingersoll (October 3, 1782 - May 14, 1862) (D)
4. Jeremiah Brown (W) 4. John Edwards (W) 4. Francis James (W) 5. Joseph Fornance (D) 6. Robert Ramsey (W) 7. John Westbrook (D) 8. Peter Newhard (D) 9. George Keim (D) 10. William Simonton (W) 11. James Gerry (D) 12. James Cooper (W) 13. Amos Gustine (D) 14. James Irvin (W) 15. Benjamin Bidlack (D) 16. John Snyder (D) 17. Davis Dimock, Jr. (D), until January 13, 1842 Almon Read (D), from March 18, 1842 18. Charles Ogle (W), until May 10, 1841 Henry Black (W), from June 28, 1841 until November 28, 1841 James M. Russell (W), from December 21, 1841 19. Albert G. Marchand (D) 20. Enos Hook (D), until April 18, 1841 Henry W. Beeson (D), from May 31, 1841 21. Joseph Lawrence (W), until April 17, 1842 Thomas M. T. McKennan (W), from May 30, 1842 22. William W. Irwin (W) 23. William Jack (D) 24. Thomas Henry (W) 25. Arnold Plumer (D)
Both representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. Robert B. Cranston (W) At-large. Joseph L. Tillinghast (W)
1. Isaac E. Holmes (D) 2. Robert Rhett (D) 3. John Campbell (D) 4. Sampson H. Butler (D)
5. Francis Pickens (D)
6. William Butler (W) 7. James Rogers (D) 8. Thomas D. Sumter (D) 9. Patrick C. Caldwell (D)
Tennessee 1. Thomas Arnold (W) 2. Abraham McClellan (D) 3. Joseph Williams (W) 4. Thomas Campbell (W) 5. Hopkins L. Turney (D) 6. William B. Campbell (W) 7. Robert L. Caruthers (W) 8. Meredith Gentry (W) 9. Harvey M. Watterson (D) 10. Aaron V. Brown (D) 11. Cave Johnson (D) 12. Milton Brown (W) 13. Christopher Williams (W)
Vermont 1. Hiland Hall (W) 2. William Slade (W) 3. Horace Everett (W) 4. Augustus Young (W) 5. John Mattocks (W)
Virginia 1. Francis Mallory (W) 2. George B. Cary (D) 3. John Jones (D) 4. William Goode (D) 5. Edmund W. Hubard (D) 6. Walter Coles (D) 7. William L. Goggin (W) 8. Henry A. Wise (W) 9. Robert Hunter (States-Rights Whig) 10. John Taliaferro (W) 11. John Botts (W) 12. Thomas Gilmer (W) 13. Linn Banks (D), until December 6, 1841 William Smith (D), from December 6, 1841 14. Cuthbert Powell (W) 15. Richard W. Barton (W) 16. William Harris (D) 17. Alexander Stuart (W) 18. George Hopkins (D) 19. George W. Summers (W) 20. Samuel Hays (D) 21. Lewis Steenrod (D)
Non-voting members Florida Territory. David Levy Yulee (D) Iowa Territory. Augustus C. Dodge (D) Wisconsin Territory. Henry Dodge (D)