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قراءة كتاب A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents Volume 3, part 1: Andrew Jackson (Second Term)

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‏اللغة: English
A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents
Volume 3, part 1: Andrew Jackson (Second Term)

A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents Volume 3, part 1: Andrew Jackson (Second Term)

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

Government, and the money which belongs to the stockholders and to the public has been freely applied in efforts to degrade in public estimation those who were supposed to be instrumental in resisting the wishes of this grasping and dangerous institution. As the president of the bank has not been required to settle his accounts, no one but himself knows how much more than the sum already mentioned may have been squandered, and for which a credit may hereafter be claimed in his account under this most extraordinary resolution. With these facts before us can we be surprised at the torrent of abuse incessantly poured out against all who are supposed to stand in the way of the cupidity or ambition of the Bank of the United States? Can we be surprised at sudden and unexpected changes of opinion in favor of an institution which has millions to lavish and avows its determination not to spare its means when they are necessary to accomplish its purposes? The refusal to render an account of the manner in which a part of the money expended has been applied gives just cause for the suspicion that it has been used for purposes which it is not deemed prudent to expose to the eyes of an intelligent and virtuous people. Those who act justly do not shun the light, nor do they refuse explanations when the propriety of their conduct is brought into question.

With these facts before him in an official report from the Government directors, the President would feel that he was not only responsible for all the abuses and corruptions the bank has committed or may commit, but almost an accomplice in a conspiracy against that Government which he has sworn honestly to administer, if he did not take every step within his constitutional and legal power likely to be efficient in putting an end to these enormities. If it be possible within the scope of human affairs to find a reason for removing the Government deposits and leaving the bank to its own resource for the means of effecting its criminal designs, we have it here. Was it expected when the moneys of the United States were directed to be placed in that bank that they would be put under the control of one man empowered to spend millions without rendering a voucher or specifying the object? Can they be considered safe with the evidence before us that tens of thousands have been spent for highly improper, if not corrupt, purposes, and that the same motive may lead to the expenditure of hundreds of thousands, and even millions, more? And can we justify ourselves to the people by longer lending to it the money and power of the Government to be employed for such purposes?

It has been alleged by some as an objection to the removal of the deposits that the bank has the power, and in that event will have the disposition, to destroy the State banks employed by the Government, and bring distress upon the country. It has been the fortune of the President to encounter dangers which were represented as equally alarming, and he has seen them vanish before resolution and energy. Pictures equally appalling were paraded before him when this bank came to demand a new charter. But what was the result? Has the country been ruined, or even distressed? Was it ever more prosperous than since that act? The President verily believes the bank has not the power to produce the calamities its friends threaten. The funds of the Government will not be annihilated by being transferred. They will immediately be issued for the benefit of trade, and if the Bank of the United States curtails its loans the State banks, strengthened by the public deposits, will extend theirs. What comes in through one bank will go out through others, and the equilibrium will be preserved. Should the bank, for the mere purpose of producing distress, press its debtors more heavily than some of them can bear, the consequences will recoil upon itself, and in the attempts to embarrass the country it will only bring loss and ruin upon the holders of its own stock. But if the President believed the bank possessed all the power which has been attributed to it, his determination would only be rendered the more inflexible. If, indeed, this corporation now holds in its hands the happiness and prosperity of the American people, it is high time to take the alarm. If the despotism be already upon us and our only safety is in the mercy of the despot, recent developments in relation to his designs and the means he employs show how necessary it is to shake it off. The struggle can never come with less distress to the people or under more favorable auspices than at the present moment.

All doubt as to the willingness of the State banks to undertake the service of the Government to the same extent and on the same terms as it is now performed by the Bank of the United States is put to rest by the report of the agent recently employed to collect information, and from that willingness their own safety in the operation may be confidently inferred. Knowing their own resources better than they can be known by others, it is not to be supposed that they would be willing to place themselves in a situation which they can not occupy without danger of annihilation or embarrassment. The only consideration applies to the safety of the public funds if deposited in those institutions, and when it is seen that the directors of many of them are not only willing to pledge the character and capital of the corporations in giving success to this measure, but also their own property and reputation, we can not doubt that they at least believe the public deposits would be safe in their management. The President thinks that these facts and circumstances afford as strong a guaranty as can be had in human affairs for the safety of the public funds and the practicability of a new system of collection and disbursement through the agency of the State banks.

From all these considerations the President thinks that the State banks ought immediately to be employed in the collection and disbursement of the public revenue, and the funds now in the Bank of the United States drawn out with all convenient dispatch. The safety of the public moneys if deposited in the State banks must be secured beyond all reasonable doubts; but the extent and nature of the security, in addition to their capital, if any be deemed necessary, is a subject of detail to which the Treasury Department will undoubtedly give its anxious attention. The banks to be employed must remit the moneys of the Government without charge, as the Bank of the United States now does; must render all the services which that bank now performs; must keep the Government advised of their situation by periodical returns; in fine, in any arrangement with the State banks the Government must not in any respect be placed on a worse footing than it now is. The President is happy to perceive by the report of the agent that the banks which he has consulted have, in general, consented to perform the service on these terms, and that those in New York have further agreed to make payments in London without other charge than the mere cost of the bills of exchange.

It should also be enjoined upon any banks which may be employed that it will be expected of them to facilitate domestic exchanges for the benefit of internal commerce; to grant all reasonable facilities to the payers of the revenue; to exercise the utmost liberality toward the other State banks, and do nothing uselessly to embarrass the Bank of the United States.

As one of the most serious objections to the Bank of the United States is the power which it concentrates, care must be taken in finding other agents for the service of the Treasury not to raise up another power equally formidable. Although it would probably be impossible to produce such a result by any organization of the State banks which could be devised, yet it is desirable to avoid even the appearance. To this end it would be expedient to assume no more power over them and interfere no more in their affairs than might be absolutely necessary to the security of the public deposit and the faithful performance of their