« VorigeDoorgaan »
Statement of property conveyed on Pennsylvania canal and railway, continued.
Lead. Copper & Marble. Lime.
Pounds. Pounds. Pounds.
6173 2030604 24672
Staves, Heading Shingles Post & Wood for Bark.
7050 1751320 19530
422000 77357 1190068 201261
A GENERAL STATEMENT
Showing the amount of tolls received, number of beats cleared, and quantity of tonnage cleared, at the several collector's offices; and the number of miles travelled by passengers on the Pennsylvania canal and railway, during the year ending on the thirty-first of October, 1833.
First. It is not correct to state that the Bank was the "fiscal agent" of the Government in this matter. On the contrary, the fiscal agency of the Bank was offered! without any charge to the Government, and declined. The Bank did not wish to purchase the Bill at all, but proposed to collect it, paying the money only after it had been received by the agents of the Bank in France. Thus when the Secretary of the Treasury wrote to the Bank about this bill, the President of the Bank in his answer dated November 5, 1832, said
"The Bank has already in Paris a larger sum than it has any immediate use for yet it is not indisposed to in
DEPOSITS-BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. (Continued from page 400.)
crease it because it may hereafter have occasion for the funds, and because it is believed that if the terms can be made acceptable, the purchase of the whole by the Bank, would be the best operation for the Government;"-and again in the same letter
The next evidence adduced of the Bank's opposition to him, is its claims for damages. Of this he gives the following account:
"In regard to the rate, you are the most competent judge of its fitness, and I will merely add, that the Bank not wanting funds in Paris, and believing that they will be lower hereafter, would not make a similar purchase from any other quarter, and is influenced exclusively by the belief that any other arrangement would be less advantageous to the Treasury"
"The Bank became the purchaser of a bill drawn by our Government on that of France for about 900,000 dollars, being the first instalment of the French indemnity. The purchase money was left in the use of the Bank,being simply added to the Treasury deposits. The Bank sold the Bill in England, and the holder sent it to France for collection, and arrangements not ha- So in his letter of the 11th of February, 1833, "The ving been made by the French government for its pay-purchase of the bill is not in the least desirable to the ment it was taken up by the agents of the Bank in Pa- Bank, nor would the rate now allowed be given to any ris, with the funds of the Bank in their hands. Under other drawer than the Government, for we shall send these circumstances it has, through its organs, openly by the same conveyance which carries your bill,a large assa led the credit of the Government, and has actually amount of bills purchased at 5.45, being nearly 14 per made and persists in a demand of fifteen per cent. or cent.less than the price actually given to the Treasury.” $158,842 77 as damages, when no damage, or none The Bank then did not wish to purchase the bill. beyond some trifling expense has in fact been sustain-But the Bank offered its agency to collect it on the foled, fand when the Bank had in its own possession on lowing terms, on the 5th November, 1832. deposit, several millions of the public money which it was then using for its own profit. Is a fiscal agent to the Government, which thus seeks to enrich itself at the expense of the public, worthy of further trust?"
"Should you prefer not fixing a rate at present, but to take the chances of a higher rate hereafter, the Bank on receiving your bill, would place the amount of it to the credit of the Government on the 2d of March, at the current rate of exchange of the best bills on that day in Philadelphia.
Here then was a distinct proposal to collect the bill just as the Bank collects bills for individuals, so that if the bill had, in Nov. 1832, been sent to the Bank, it would have been forwarded to Europe; and if on the 2d of Feb. 1833, when it was payable in Paris, it had not been paid, the Bank would have been apprised of that fact and would not have made the payment on the 2d of March, and the whole transaction would have been closed. This course, however, the Government did not adopt-but after considering the offers for the bill made
from other quarters, decided to sell it to the Bank. Secondly. It is not the fact that this money "was left in the use of the Bank, being simply added to the Treasury Deposits."
Suppose that it had been, it would not in the slightest degree affect the question of damages. When a party sells a bill, and is paid for it, that is, has the funds placed to his credit to be drawn whenever he chooses without further notice, the party is as much paid the fund belongs as little to the Bank-as if the party had actually withdrawn the whole sum in specie. But not only was the fund in this case drawn from the general resources of the Bank, and placed to the credit of the Treasury, but immediately after that was done Congress passed a law to lend the money, and the Secretary of the Treasury issued a notice that this money was to be forthwith lent out to capitalists, that is to say to be immediately withdrawn. The credit given to the Treasurer was on the 11th of February, 1833. The notice of the Secretary dated the 6th of March,offered to lend out this money after the 20th of March-of course the Bank could make no use of it—on the contrary, as it would probably be withdrawn immediately, it became not merely useless as a deposit, but required the Bank to shape its loans to others, so as to provide for the immediate payment.
But whether the French Government pays these da
Nor is this all. Not only was this sum passed to the credit of the Treasurer-not only was the early with-mages or not, it is manifest that the American Governdrawal of it from the Bank announced by the Secreta- ment must pay them-and this upon the simple princiry, but the identical proceeds of this identical French ples, not of equity, but of ordinary honesty. bill, were actually used by the Government for the pay-sent day, whenever the Government has purchased a ment of its ordinary expenses.
From the foundation of the Government to the pre
The account of the Treasurer at the Bank stood thus
bill from a private citizen, and that bill has from whatever cause returned protested, no matter how hard the case may be, no matter what circumstances of excuse or mitigation may be offered by the citizen, no matter whether damages were actually sustained or not, the Government has rigorously enforced its claim for damages. It has not merely forced a solvent merchant to pay, but has insisted that its claim for damages should have its legal precedence over all the just rights of the other creditors of an insolvent; and now when the case is changed, when the Government sells its own bill to its own citizens, and that bill returns protested, with what propriety, nay with what pretensions to common honesty, can the Government presume to deny the same justice to its own citizens. The books of the Treasury are crowded with cases of damages exacted by the Government from American citizens-and one is now selected merely from its peculiar aptness to the present occasion.
$717,264 22 1,735,460 40
(in consequence of the payment of the
SO April 8 15 22 29
when the money was paid.
It will thus be seen, that there was at the credit of the Treasurer on the 18th of February, the sum of $1,735,460 40, of which $903,565 89 were the proceeds of the French bill, and as in the month of April there was to his credit only $746,613 61, the difference between these two sums, that is to say $156,952 28 had been drawn for out of that fund of $903,565 89.
a credit for the proceeds of the sale of the bill in London, but its actual disbursements on account of the bill were upwards of $1,800,000.
What makes the case stronger is this-that on the 2d of March, the day when the protested bill came back to the Bank, the whole amount in the credit of the Treasury throughout the whole United States, with the exception of the Danish indemnity money, was $1,827,048 88. Now the Bank had advanced $903,565 89 in Philadelphia, and $921,590 18 in Paris, making $1,825,156 07, so that although it had credit in England for the bill sold there, the Bank had actually advanced on account of this bill a sum equal within less than two thousand dollars, of the whole funds of the Government in the Bank.
When the bill returned protested, the Bank, as the endorser, called upon the Government to pay the principal and the damages. It did this as a matter of course. It did it as a matter of the clearest duty to the Government, because if the Government had any right at all to draw the bill, it had a right to make France pay the damages for its breach of contract, and it had no mode of claiming against France, unless in the first instance it paid the damages to the Bank, which it might the more readily do,as being one-filth partner of the Bank, its own share of the $158,000 would be $31,600.
1,842,658 14 1,620,699 89 1,551,627 97 1,560,783 63 1,496,907 43 1,052,862 10 1,082,560 88 918,816 61 746,613 61 826,070 90 814,046 61 774,630 47 431,560 43
Some years ago Mr. Stephen Girard sold to the Treasury four bills, two of which returned protested owing to the insolvency of his correspondent in London; when the two others became due they were paid for the hohour of Mr. Girard, by the Messrs. Barings, who also agreed to pay the two first in London, as of the day on which they were payable. Mr. Girard applied to Congress for exoneration from the claim of twenty per cent. damages, alleging
"That from the said sum of £22,500 stesling, due on the 18th August last, being passed by Sir Francis Ba
Accordingly when the Treasurer came to repay the money, he had not enough of it remaining-but was obliged to draw on funds elsewhere, so that in acknow-ring & Co. to the credit of the Secretary of the Trealedging the receipt of his draft on the 11th of May, sury of the United States, as on the day the same be1833, the Cashier of the Bank added, came due' no real loss or damage can accrue to the United States from the said bills being returned under protest."
"Your transfer check for $700,000 on the office of the Bank of the United States at New York will appear at the credit of your account this day, and will thus prevent the overdraft which the change now advised would otherwise have ocasioned."
In the United States then the Bank had paid the amount of the bill in its least convenient form. But when it was protested in Paris, the agents of the Bank finding a bill with its name upon it protested, came for ward and paid it on account of the Bank-so that the Bank had actually paid for this bill twice over-once in Philadelphia and once in Paris-that is, it had of course
Congress rejected the claim, and Mr. Girard paid the damages of twenty per cent.
On that occasion, the Committee of Claims called on the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Gallatin, and in his answer, which makes part of their report, he says that he had rejected Mr. Girard's claim for four reasons, of which the two most essential are:
"1st. Because, considering the large amount of bills (more than two millions of dollars,) annually purchased on account of Government, it appeared absolutely ne
cessary never to give up the damages whenever a legal right to them had accrued, and because that right has in every instance, without regard to persons or circumstances, been enforced.
But the business of the Board is not exclusively nor primarily to make loans:-its business is to govern the whole Institution. If the charter required seven Directors to make a discount, it would have said so of the Boards of Directors of the Branches, whose more exclusive business it is to discount. But it places no such restriction on the Branches, where by far the greater discounts are made. The business of the Board is to prescribe how the details of the operations of the Bank are to be made--it may delegate a portion of its The lapse of years at last reversed the state of the par- power of making loans to Committees; for in truth to ties. Mr. Girard becomes the largest stockholder in a require a Board of seven Directors to meet before any corporation called the Bank of the United States, and bill could be discounted, would entirely destroy the he and his partners, in the course of their business, most useful operations of the Bank-and accordingly purchase a bill from the same officer, the Secretary of the Exchange Committee meet every day for the purthe Treasury, which comes back protested after having chase of bills, and their purchases are submitted to the been twice paid for. Mr. Girard's heirs and his associ- Board at their next meeting. It would be supposed ates apply to the Secretary-not even for the same from the manner in which it is stated, that this was amount which Mr. Girard formerly paid-not for twen- some recent innovation So far from it, the discountty per cent. the damages in Pennsylvania-but for fif-ing of bills of exchange was formerly done by a smallteen per cent. the damages in Washington; and the on-er number than at present. On the 13th of February, ly answer vouchsafed by the Treasury Department is, 1821, during the administration of Mr. Cheves, and bethat the claim "has no foundation in law or equity"-to fore the time of the present officers, a rule was adopted which the President now adds, that it is an attempt to that"impair the credit of the Government, and tarnish the honour of the country." Such a course tends to an utter confusion of all ideas of justice; nor is it a thing tolerable by the American people, that an individual shall go among the citizens purchasing bills and exacting damages, and when his own bill, sold to these same citizens, returns protested, he shall wrap himself up in his official immunity, and refuse to do to his fellow citizens what he has compelled them to do to him.
The second is-"To cut off all the means of communication with the Government in relation to its most important acts, at the commencement of the present
But supposing all this to be directly the reverse of what it really is-supposing the claim to be questionable instead of equitable, is there any thing in it which can at all justify this denunciation of the Bank? Here is a claim made by certain American cititizens for dama- year, not one of the Government Directors was placed ges on a bill of exchange, which they have purchased on any one Committee. And although, since, by an unuof the Government. The question is a legal one. The sual remodelling of those bodies, some of those Direcjudicial tribunals are to decide it. Yet while the Bank tors have been placed on some of the Committees, they is quietly waiting the action of the laws, the President are yet entirely excluded from the Committee of Exof the United States prejudges the question-denounces change, through which the greatest and most objectionthe Bank for having presumed to make the claim-and able loans have been made." gives that to the country as a reason why he should instantly remove a Secretary of the Treasury, in order to subject the whole public revenue of the United States to his own disposal.
"2d. Because if abandoned in this instance and for that reason, every drawer who was solvent might by making a remittance to the bankers in Europe, after bills protested for non-payment had been returned to the Treasury, induce them to make a similar offer, and evade the payment of damages.
In further illustration of the opposition of the Bank to his election, he next proceeds to treat of certain acts of the Board of Directors. The annunciation of these is prefaced by remarks on the magnitude and importance of the facts, their recent disclosure and their great enormity; and the whole is concluded by a complaint of the "hundreds of thousands and even millions" which may be employed in subverting the liberties of the country, and in disparaging the Executive. How little foundation in fact there is for all this will be readily seen by examining the allegations in the order in which they are presented.
"In the absence of the Exchange Committee, the President and Cashier shall be authorized to purchase exchange which may be offered for sale, if an immediate answer be desired, and report such purchases to the Exchange Committee at its next meeting thereafter."
Thus giving the power here complained of to only a single director of the Bank. Yet no one ever imagined that it was a violation of the charter. In truth it is a power exercised very generally by the officers of Banks throughout the United States.
There are two things remarkable in this paragraph first, the strangeness of the confession; and next, the fallacy of the statement. It is here asserted that not to have the Government Directors on Committees is to "cut off all means of communication with the Government in relation to its most important acts;" that is to say, that the confidential opinions and the unreserved expressions used by their colleagues on a Committee are to be communicated to the Government. It is precisely this fact, thus officially announced, which would make these Directors unsafe depositories of the confidence of their colleagues. "At the commencement of the present year," he proceeds, "not one of the Government Directors was placed on any one Committee." Now of these Directors, who could then be appointed, there were but two residents of Philadelphia-the third not having yet been appointed. Why these two Directors, one of whom had just come, for the first time, into a banking institution, were not named on the
First. He says, that "although the charter and the rules of the Bank both declare that not less than seven directors' shall be necessary to the transaction of business, yet the most important business, even that of Committees, in the place of old and valued Directors, granting discounts to any extent, is entrusted to a com- it would be more invidious than difficult to decide; but mittee of five members who do not report to the that there was no studied exclusion was obvious from Board." the fact that at the very next quarterly appointment, two out of the three Government Directors were placed on Committees. Nor is there any foundation for the direc-assertion that an "unusual remodelling" of these Committees has taken place. On the contrary, the Committees were appointed quarterly, as they have for years been appointed, and not the slightest remodelling of them, usual or unusual, has taken place. As to the Exchange Committees, who are charged with the
Now, the charter does not require seven directors to
Nor do the rules of the Bank require seven
Nor is it true that any committee of five have this power to discount.
Nor does any committee discount without reporting to the Board.
The charter says that "not less than seven directors arrangement of the Foreign and Domestic Exchanges shall constitute a Board for the transaction of business." of the Bank, requiring commercial experience and
knowledge of the business and the credit of individuals, those who are presumed most qualified are most naturally chosen. These Directors have no claim to the slightest distinction above their colleagues, and they must take their chance with the other members in the formation of the Committees. In truth, meu will choose their associates on committees, as in every thing else, from confidence in their capacity of their personal qualities; and not to be chosen to places of trust implies only that others are more trusted.
This whole allegation is denied.
The Bank does not now control, and never did control any press whatever-the Bank does not own and never did own any press-the Bank does not now support, nor did it ever support, by its money, any press. Created for the purpose of giving aid to every branch of industry, it has not presumed to proscribe the conductors of the press from their share of the accommodation due to their capital and industry. Of the extent and the security of these loans the Directors claim the exclusive privilege of judging.
The course of this inquiry has now brought the Com. cor-mittee to the second paper referred to them by the Board signed by the Government Directors. It appears from their report that the President of the United States addressed a letter to them, "directing them to examine and report upon the expense account of the Bank of the United States for the last two years," and particularly "that portion which embraced expenditures calculated to operate on the election"-which examination they state "undoubtedly presents circumstances which in our opinion warrant the belief you have been led to entertain." This assertion of a right in the President of the United States to inquire into the expenses of the Bank, with a view to ascertain whether any money was expended which might directly or indirectly interfere with his own personal election, is alike novel and un tenable. His authority, as we have seen, is limited to the power of issuing a scire facias. But in no part of the charter of the Bank, in no law of this country is there found any power in the President to interfere in the internal concerns of the institution, or to direct secret investigations. But that which they regard with surprise and regret is, that these Directors, having such a commission to execute from the President, never communicated the fact to their colleagues nor to the Officers of the Bank; and while these Officers were giving to them the freest and most unreserved access to all the books and papers of the Bank, and while their colleagues were sitting in perf ct confidence by their sides, neither those Officers nor the Directors had the remotest suspicion of this official investigation into their conduct, begun nearly two months before under orders of the President-until they read it in the newspapers. When at the meeting of the Board, after its publication, the subject was introduced, one of the Government Directors in effect acknowledged that they had purposely concealed their object, lest if their colleagues had been aware of it, they would not have permitted it. What the Committee deem therefore a subject of just complaint, is the want of candour in thus trying their colleagues, without apprizing them that they were on trial, or giving them any chance of knowing or answering the charges made against them by the President.
The third is—"It has long been known that the President of the Bank, by his single will originates and executes many of the most important measures connected with the management of the credit of the Bank; and that the Committee as well as the Board of Directors, are left in entire ignorance of many acts done, and respondence carried on in their names and apparently under their authority."
An assertion so general can only be met by as general a denial; at the same time, the Committee deem it their duty to declare, that this allegation so positively made, as of a known and acknowledged fact, while it charges the Board of Directors with a dereliction of their duty, and a surrender of their trust, does the greatest and most flagrant wrong to the officer who presides over this Institution. This officer has devoted eleven years of the best portion of his life, and all his time and all his talents during that period, to the service of the the Bank: he has at all times, consulted freely with the Directors, and has never sought to make his "single will" the law of the Bank. The proofs of the ability and integrity of his administration, are to be read in the prosperity and strength of the Institution; in the reiterated approbation of the stockholders; and in the unwavering confidence of the successive Boards of Directors, who have been the witnesses of his labours. And the Committee confidently believe that such proofs can never be obliterated by such sweeping declarations, let them emanate from what source they
substantially owns-and by its money supports, some of the leading presses of the country, is now more clearly understood."
The fourth is in the following passage: "The expenditures purporting to have been made under authority of these resolutions, during the years 1831 and 1832, were about 80,000 dollars.'
This, too, is another mis-statement. The expenditures purporting to be made under these resolutions during the years 1831 and 1832 were, as will be explained in this report, exactly $48,287 90.
The fifth is; "That publications have been prepared and extensively circulated containing the grossest invectives against the officers of the 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."
The report itself bears manifest evidence of the haste with which it was prepared. Thus "we proceeded," say they, "to look into such of the vouchers on which they are founded as we had time and opportunity to do." They state that they would have sent co
"The fact has been recently disclosed, that an unlimited discretion has been, and is now vested in the President of the Bank to expend its funds in payment for preparing and circulating articles, and purchasing pamphlets and newspapers, calculated by their contents to operate on elections and secure a renewal of its charter.' Here are two mistakes: It is not true that any "pub-pies of these vouchers, but, "the time and labour nelications have been prepared and extensively circulat-cessary for this mode would have prevented our reed containing the grossest invectives against the offi- sorting to it at present." When the truth is, that a cers of the Government." Nor is it true that any pow- few hours of tranquil industry would have enabled er is vested in the President "for preparing and circu- them to copy every word of these vouchers. lating articles, and purchasing pamphlets and newspapers, calculated by their contents to operate on elections and secure a renewal of its charter." No such power is given, and no such power is exercised.
Again they say, "we were obliged to depend on our own partial inquiries." The errors of this hasty and partial enquiry the Committee will now proceed to notice.
The power actually given which has been exercised, and will continue to be exercised, is for the defence of the Bank against the calumnies with which for four years, the institution has been pursued.
The sixth is,
1st. The first impression attempted to be made is that, whatever is here stated are discoveries of things hitherto concealed, and which now see the light in consequence of their exertions. Thus they speak of the expenditures "discovered by us," and of their "inves
"The fact that the Bank controls, and in some cases tigations," that they requested a particular statement