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VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
The bank of the United States was chartered in 1816, with a capital of $35,000,000. For this charter, the government received a bonus of $1,500,000 from the stockholders. The direction of the institution was left to the stockholders, except that the government received the right of appointment and removal at pleasure of five directors out of the twenty-five, and also the right to demand a statement of the concerns of the institution by committees of either branch of Congress. The charter expires on the 3d of March, 1836. The bank is prohibited from purchasing any part of the public debt, taking interest over six per cent, or loaning to the gove ernment over $500,000, or to any State, over $50,000. It is also obliged to give the government the necessary facilities for transferring the public funds from place to place, within the United States, without charging commissions, or claiming any allowance on account of the difference of exchange, and to transact all the business of commissioners of loans whenever required so to do. The institution is essentially commercial in its character, being directly auxiliary to the government, and subject to its control only as a financial engine. Its most beneficial influence has been felt in the restoration of the currency to a sound state ; for at the time of its going into operation, many of the state banks had an immense amount of unredeemable paper in circulation. As soon as the United States bank went into operation, with its various branches in the commercial cities, it became necessary for all the other banks within the circle of its influence, to resume specie payments, or discontinue their operations. The consequence of the influence of this institution, was a complete restoration of the currency to specie or its equivalent. The dividends have varied from five to six per cent. The amount of stock held by foreigners in January, 1832, was 84,055 shares; equal to $8,405,500. The domestic stockholders of the bank were 3,602 in number. The ainount of bills discounted by the bank on personal securities, was $48,758,570 54; on funded debt, $18,850 00; on bank stock, $731,157 53; domestic bills of exchange, $16,691,129 34. The amount of specie on hand was $7,038,828 12.
On the 10th of July, 1832, an act extending the charter of the bank having passed both houses of congress-the senate, by a vote
of 28 to 20, and the house by a vote of 105 to 83, was returned by the president, with his objections to signing it; and less than two thirds voting for its passage, the act was rejected. The president contended that the bank was unconstitutional in some of its features; that it may pass into the hands of foreigners; that it is a monopoly of the rich; that it has more capital than is necessary ; that suspicion of corruption attaches to its proceedings, &c. These various objections were met, and shown to be without foundation, by Mr. Webster and other members of congress. Previously to the vote in congress, a special committee had been appointed by the house, to proceed to Philadelphia, and examine the concerns of the bank. The majority made a report unfavorable to rechartering. The minority also offered a report, drawn up at great length by Mr. J. Q. Adams, in opposition to the report of the majority. In the winter of 1832–3, an agent was commissioned by government to report respecting the safety of continuing the United States' deposites in the bank. The report fully certified to the safety of the deposites. Subsequently, a committee of the house was directed to consider and report on the same subject. The conclusion of their report is as follows: “ The available and secure resources of the bank, amounted on the first of January, 1833, to $80,865,000, whilst all the claims against it for bills, debts, and deposites, including those of the government, and for the redemption of the public debt were but $37,800,000, leaving above $43,000,000 as a guarantee to the nation against all losses. These general statements derive strong confirmation from the fact that the specie actually within the vaults of the bank of the United States, is within one tenth of the amount held by all the other banks in the Union, while its circulation of paper is but one fourth of the aggregate of theirs. In other words, the bank of the United States has above nine millions of specie, with a circulation of notes to the amount of seventeen millions and a half; while the aggregate of all the other banks, with specie in their vaults but a little above ten millions, have a circulation of bank paper of sixty-eight millions." The report was accepted, ten thousand extra copies ordered to be printed, and the following resolution passed by a large majority. “ That the government deposites may, in the opinion of the house, be safely continued in the bank of the United States."
In the month of September last, the president came to the determination to remove the deposites, notwithstanding the vote of the house of representatives, and the decided opposition of the secretaries of war, navy, and the treasury. This is the more extraordinary, as the matter is intrusted by law in the hards of the secretary of the treasury, who is made immediately answerable to congress on this subject, and who, in extreme cases, may remove or change the deposites of the public money. It seems to be nothing more nor less than an act of direct usurpation on the part of the president. We do not say this in a partizan spirit. We have no connection with any political party. There are some things about the president and his administration, which have met our unqualified approbation ; but we think that in this case, he has transcended his powers. He, of all men in the country, ought to manifest a prompt and unhesitating obedience to those laws and that constitution, which he has sworn to support. The grounds alleged in the paper which he read to his cabinet, in justification of his course, namely, the political influence which the bank is said to have exerted against his administration, &c. are, if true, altogether unworthy of a man in his high office, to bring forward. In consequence, the secretary of the treasury, Mr. Duane, has been removed, and Mr. R. B. Taney, attorney general, has been appointed in his place.
The elections for state officers, and for members of congress, have just taken place in several of the States. There has not been by any means so much excitement and appeal to angry passion, and bitter personality, as characterized the elections of the last year. There have still, however, been many things which a true lover of his country must deplore. Some of the political papers in Maine, during the late election (we do not take Maine because she is worse than some other States) were charged with the most outrageous personalities. The effervescence of passion was in inverse proportion to the amount of sense and argument. One man was deified, and his opponent was represented to be as destitute of principle as a demon incarnate. We hoped that the visit of the president would allay the heats of party. It seems, however, to have occasioned only a temporary calm. South Carolina has elected an entire delegation of nullifiers to congress, with the exception of General Blair. A part of the delegations of North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama, are also of the same political complexion. We are glad to see that the Hon. John Sergeant, of Philadelphia, is in nomination for congress. The exertions of this gentleman on the Missouri question, several years since, entitle him to the gratitude of the country.
The American Board of Missions has lately held its annual meeting in Philadelphia. We hardly need say that the anniversary was one of great interest. This society has the advantage of all others in several respects. By the mode of its organization, it has a large number of distinguished and select men as corporate members, who constitute a kind of patres conscripti, venerable for age and wisdom. Again, from the nature of the enterprise, every year brings forward new topics, and clothes old ones in fresh interest. Some of the missions of the society are established in regions teeming with ancient cherished associations, or with present absorbing political revolutions. It has reporters at Athens, at the seat of the Ottoman power, in the heart of the new Egyptian dynasty, and on the confines of the mighty empires of Eastern Asia. The anniversary of the Board presents one single object before the community. The interest in its proceedings is not lost, or diminished, by the claims of other kindred objects, as would be the case, if its annual festival were holden in May. In consequence, the public press circulates a much more extended account of its proceedings and report. We give the following synopsis of the results of the past year.
“ The Board has at present under its care 22 missions, viz. to Greece, Constantinople, Syria, the Jews, Bombay, Ceylon, Siam, China, the Indian Archipelago, the Sandwich islands, Patagonia, the Cherokees west of the Mississippi, the Choctaws, the Creeks, the Osages, the Stockbridges, Mackinaw, the Ojibeways, Maumee, and Indians in New York. These missions include 60 stations, 83 ordained missionaries, 6 physicians not ordained, 6 printers, 26 other assistant missionaries, 126 females, 4 native preachers, 46 native assistants; making 247 laborers in the gospel sent from this country, and 50 native preachers and assistants; which make a total of 297.
“Of these, 48 persons have been sent out the last year ; viz. 19 ordained missionaries, 2 physicians, 2 printers, and 25 other assistants. The churches connected with, and formed by these missions, are in number 37, and contain 1,704 communicants gathered from the heathen. The scholars connected with schools belonging to these missions, are about 50,000. The presses belonging to the Board, last year issued nearly 7,500,000 pages of the word of God, and other religious matter. Since the first establishment of these presses, they have printed for missionary purposes 68,000,000 of pages. The Board is about to commence immediately new missions in western and eastern Africa, in the islands of Crete and Cyprus in the Mediteranean, at Broosa in Asia Minor, and in Persia. Several others are in contemplation on the eastern continent, and among the American Indians.
“The receipts of the Board during the past year, have exceeded those of the preceding year by $15,270 65; and have amounted to $145,844 77; which added to the balance in the treasury at the commencement of the year, gave $152,522 41 of funds at the disposal of the Committee during the year. Of this sum there have been expended in prosecuting the various objects of the Board, $149,906 27 ; leaving in the treasury of disposal funds, at the close of the past financial year, on the first of August last, $2,616 14. In addition to the disbursements just stated, there have passed through the treasury of the Board, from the American Bible Society, $5,000, to aid the Bombay mission in printing the Scriptures in the Mahratta language; $500, to aid the Sandwich islands mission in printing the Scriptures in the Hawaiian language ; and $300, to aid in printing the Scriptures in Cherokee ;-from the Philadelphia Bible Society, $1,500, to aid in printing the Hawaiian Scriptures ;—from the American Tract Society, $6,000, to aid in printing tracts at Bombay, Ceylon, China, the Sandwich islands, and in the Mediterranean ;-and from other sources, for Bibles and Tracts, $120: making the sum total of $17,920; and the total disbursements of the Society $167,826 27.”
On the Sabbath evening following the meeting of the Board, the instructions of the prudential committee were given to the Rev. John L. Wilson, who is about to embark on an exploring tour into Western Africa. The document was read by Mr. Anderson, one of the secretaries of the Board, and contains some striking remarks. The value of life is to be measured not in years and days, but by the amount of enlarged thought and effective labor expended in behalf of an unenlightened world.
« • That life is long, which answers life's great end.' Time-what is it? In respect
matter, it measures the revolutions of worlds round their axes and through their orbs. But in respect to man, time is the indicator of the number of his thoughts, and feelings, and actions. Time seems long or short to every man, in proportion to the number of these ; and so it is. That man lives longest, whose intellect and heart are most instinct with being, and who puts forth the greatest number of actions. And he lives to the best purpose, whose thoughts, feelings, and actions, all tend most to render the gospel effectual to the salvation of men. Whose life is longer, when measured by such a standard, and whose is more desirable, than was that of Brainerd, or Martyn, or Mills; though neither of them saw half the number of days allotted to human existence on earth? How short, too, were the life and ministry of Jesus Christ; and yet, in another, and juster view, how long! Not to prolong life to the utmost did He aim; but to accomplish by sufferings and by death, the object for which he came into the world; and such an object accomplished, swells his short life into a kind of infinitude. And the value of an existence on earth is to be enhanced in the same manner as was his. Let the soul be filled with the same grand designs, which occupied the attention of the Son of God on earth ; and then will thought and feeling of a kindred nature be awakened, and crowd the mind-time will be filled with thought and feeling; and