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preferred. The Executive need not appoint a single officer, nor buy a single key, padlock, or fire-proof safe, if those of incorporated institutions are considered so much more secure. This whole clamor about Executive control over the public money, and defalcation of sub-treasurers, must be silenced by the offer of such a compromise, and the great question of the Divorce, on its essential principles, be presented in a simple point of view, stripped of incidental accessaries, which must make it impossible, as it seems to us, for the most reckless factiousness of opposition to object to the inestimable reform which it is calculated to introduce into the fiscal administration of the Federal Government. We should be glad to hear the objections which our Conservative friends, who have been seized with such a holy horror of Executive patentlocks, and of the creation of a dozen new public officers, and who are at the same time so anxious for “compromise" and “conciliation,” will have to urge against this new form of the great principle of the Divorce.
VOTES OF THE MONTH.
As this subject has recently grown into sudden prominence and importance, we will take advantage of the few remaining pages in our present Number, to state explicitly our views of this question of "Free Banking," as they have been on several nccacions misrepresented, and their consistency with the general principles of this Review, impugned. We regard the laws purporting to be “Free Banking” laws, which have recently been adopted or introduced in seven or eight States of the Union, as a very pernicious aggravation of the evils of the existing artificial papermoney system. If the actual state of things were suddenly blotted out of existence, and we had to recommence anew to construct a perfect system on abstract principles, we should look for perfection only in absolute unrestricted freedom; and every person, or combination of persons, should be at liberty to issue paper “currency” ad libitum, to maintain whatever circulation the competition of others might enable it to acquire. We believe that such a state of things would soon lead to a sound and stable currency, founded on the specie standard alone; and that it would soon become evident that the element of credit in money is supported only by the artificial public character which is given to the paper currency, by unwise legislation hampering the free action of competition, and superseding that of the intelligent vigilance of the public mind. But to propose at present to introduce such a freedom into the midst of the actual existing state of things, is more absurd than the wildest extravagance of the most Utopian revolutionist. The present is indeed an age of reform, and the most delicate problem to be solved is that of the exact mode in which the great principles of abstract truth, by which so many vicious social institutions arc to be reorganized, are to be introduced into practice—and not only the exact mode, but the exact degree of rapidity. We belong to the school that looks upon LIBERTY as the main principle of reform to the action of which we should trust, in preference to the clumsy and too often corrupt operation of Law. But the world has been taught too many severe lessons of the danger of too sudden a relaxation of existing restraints, before a proper preparation of the public mind and public habits, to incline us to a headlong and reckless rapidity in this great work. Festina lente. Much as this Review has been denounced on the charge of "radical ultraism,” we are by no means insensible to the value of this useful, though often greatly abused, maxim. That which has gradually become diseased by a long course of bad legislation, must be gradually restored to a certain degree at least of health and soundness by good legislation, before it can be safely left to itself without control or direction. Relapse and reaction are the chief dangers to be guarded against during the process of improvement and convalescence. Now in the case of this subject of paper-money banking, the mode in which we see the very friends of the pernicious principles on which it is founded, introducing into it the principle of freedom-the characteristic principle of the opposite school of opinion to their own-appears to us very bad, though bringing with it the consolation that it will precipitate the day of reform, even though at the expense of aggravated convulsion and suffering. Great questions of this kind must after all take their own course, and it is idle to quarrel with destiny. We have sinned and we must suffer, unto the third and fourth generations, and those who have sown the wind must be prepared to reap the whirlwind. It is still, however, worth while at least to provide a partial shelter from its coming fury.
It was a curious circumstance to witness, in the State of New York, which has set in motion this ball of " free banking,” the mode in which that operation was effected. The “ Loco-Foco" party had been for years denouncing the existing system of paper-money banking. There had been such an agitation of the subject that a strong public opinion had been aroused, adverse to its further extension, and espe cially to its feature of monopoly. In this state of things, by the sudden and sweeping convulsion of the year of suspension, the Whig party got into power in the State Legislature. The creation of new banks, on the plan and model of the old, would not have been tolerated by the public sentiment of the State, even if there nad not remained a Democratic majority in the Senate. Accordingly, as the only means of evading the popular objection to any further extension of the system, the Whig party was seen to turn round, adopt the Loco-focoism of anti-monopoly, which they had been so long denouncing and ridiculing; and though they dared not and could not create a new bank, yet they passed a law authorizing the sel creation of as many as should choose to come into operation, on certain prescribed principles, which, however, contained no material provision against the real evil of the system, its tendency to excess in the emission of paper currency. The restrictions with which it was accompanied were directed solely to the object of guaranteeing the security of the paper.
Now, the danger of ultimate loss to the bill-holder is an entirely insignificant portion of the evil of the present system; and its essential vice is quite independent of that circumstance. The great evil consists in the fluctuations to which it exposes the currency; and a contrivance which tends to increase the popular confidence in the circulation of the paper, by the ultimate safeguard of the pledges of stocks and mortgages,-and at the same time to permit the free multiplication of the institutions emitting it, to the utmost extent that the expanding bubble will tolerate—is an aggravation, rather than a remedy, of the evil. This is an instance of the mischief growing out of the improper mode of introducing the great principle of reform, liberty, by a partial and ill-directed application of it, into the midst of an existing evil system, full of artificial complexity, and operating direcıly and powerfully on the well-being of society. It is in this case the mere removal of existing restraints upon the evil elements and tendencies of the system.
If the law authorizing the unrestricted creation of banks for the emission of papermoney, had been accompanied with some provisions for the purpose of keeping down the paper currency they should issue to the level of real, bona fide equivalency to spe
cie-such as a summary and severe bankrupt law, and the creation of a regular demand for and circulation of specie, as would be effected by confining the Federal Government, for instance, to the use of that medium alone-then indeed it would have met our full approval, as a safe remedy for a large portion of the existing evil. But while the present state of things is in full vogue, the infatuation of the use of paper in full sway of the public mind, and while every attempt to moderate and steady its inherent tendency to excess by the use and circulation of specie is denounced and opposed, we cannot but look with unmixed reprobation and regret, upon these laws, which resembic in no other feature than in name that "freedom of trade in banking" which we have always advocated. And it is only an instance of the proverbial facility with which the devil can quote scripture, to see the advocates of paper-money ( a contrivance essentially anti-democratic, and opposed as such by all the old apostles of American democracy ) take the phrases and arguments in favor of freedom, out of the mouths of the democratic school of opinion, to apply them, by an artifice of the most insidious ingenuiiy, to the purpose of multiplying and aggravating the very evils that school has so long been laboring to reform. However, we repeat, that a consolation is to be found—though a paisful one, and not to be contemplated without trembling-in the reflection that, by thus allowing free scope to the evil to develope and exhaust itself, it will the sooner work out, by the experience of suffering, that complete cure of the existing infatuatiou of the public mind on this subject, from which alone a thorough and permanent reform is ever to be expected.
In the midst of the melće of the strife of parties at the seat of government, the arrival of a beautiful young female, a direct and lineal descendant of the famous old navigator whose name she bears, in common with this continent an exile from country and home, to which she has bid an eternal farewell, on account of the political opinions which an Austrian despotism could not tolerate even in a womancasting herself with a frank and noble confidence on the magnanimity of the great nation to which she has always felt herself bound by a peculiar tie, which may well be presumed to have insensibly given its direction to the formation of her character and opinions—such an arrival is too remarkable an occurrence, and too agreeable a relief to tne embittered excitement of politics, to be suffered to pass without at least brief and slight notice in these pages.
The circumstances which have led this interesting young stranger to our shores— if it is not a misapplication of the word to designate her as a stranger, though the soft accents of her native Tuscan are as yet the only language familiar to her lipsmay be thus briefly stated.
After spending, like most of the young Italian ladies of rank, fourteen years of her youth in a convent for her education ( the convent of Le Signore della Quiete, in the environs of Florence ) she was introduced into the midst of the brilliant society of the capital and court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, at the age of seventeen. She was placed by her parents in the service of the Grand Duchess, as a “demoiselle de compagnie," or maid of honor. There she was of course surrounded with all the seductive influences of European aristocratic life, in the midst of the splendors and luxuries of the Pitti Palace. Her mind had, however, already-by its own self-derived impulses, as it would seem, for it was certainly entirely at variance with all he natural bias of such an education and such a position, taken a decided direction in the movement of liberal ideas which is the leading characteristic of the age, and which in no country has exercised a stronger influence upon the imagination of ardent youth than in Italy. Possessed of rare natural talents, highly accomplished by reading and cultivation, with remarkable force of character, vivacity of imagination, and energy of will, it will not be a subject of surprise, that, during the agit tions that were fermenting in the north of Italy immediately after the French Revolution, she was one of the few females whose social position and personal qualities gained them admission to the secret societies which were conspiring to rid Italy of the dominion of a foreign despotism, and to unite the whole of that beautiful and unhappy land under a single sovereignty, which might again restore it to a rank amidst the family of nations. But we are not aware of any others whose ardor carried them beyond the private machinations of conspiracy, to the actual field of battle and blood.
In the attempted rising of August, 1837, and in the engagement with the Austrians on the banks of the Rimini, in which it will be remembered by our readers that young Louis Bonaparte took part, she conducted herself with great gallantry, and received a severe sabre stroke on the back of her head, from an Austrian dra. goon ( to whom, however, though nameless, the justice ought to be done to state that he did not know her to be a woman;) and in her fall to the ground, her right arm was broken by the weight of her horse falling upon it. Though suspected, her disguised participation in this affair could not be proved, and after her recovery from "her wounds she spent two years at her father's house in Florence, though under a vigilant surveillance. This resulted in the interception of a letter 10 her, as secretary of one of the sections of the Society of “ La Jeune Italie," which made it apparent that she could disclose its entire organization in Tuscany. She was accordingly required either to betray her associates, or to quit Florence within twenty-four hours. Her choice between these two alternatives does not need to be stated. She found a present asylum under the protection of the Queen of the French; and it is under the auspices of the French flag, and the highest guarantees of the genuineness of her title to American sympathy and friendship, in all points of view, of character, conduct, family, and position, that she is now here, in the country to which she has always looked as her natural home of refuge and protection. Her letter to Con gress, already before the public, presents her case to that body and to the country with an elegance and eloquence to which we can add nothing further, to support her simple and dignified appeal to the generous magnanimity of the great nation "christened,” to use her own language, by the ancestor who has bequeathed to her, as to it, his imperishable name. Our limits permit us to quote only its concluding paragraphs:
“ America Vespucci will make no demand on the American Government. Those who make demands are presumed to have rights to be established or justice to claim. She has neither. She knows that the Americans have been magnanimous towards all who have rendered services to the nation ; that they have been generous towards all who have done a noble act for their country; and that they have, moreover, granted protection and even assistance to emigrants from other nations. There is but one Vespucius who has given his name to a quarter of the globe. Will the Americans do nothing for the descendant of Americus? She desires a country, she seeks a land that will receive her as a friend. She has a name; that is all her inheritance, all her fortune. May this hospitable nation grant her a corner of that land in which it is so rich, and may the title of citizen be bestowed upon the poor emigrant !
"If Americus Vespucius were now alive the Americans would rush in crowds to offer him honors and rewards. In the nineteenth century will this civilized nation forget that in the veins of his descendant flows the saine blood ? America Vespucci collected all her little fortune in order to reach this country; now, she desires only to make known her position to the Congress of this great nation, feeling confident that the Americans will never abandon her. She will not ask, having no other claim than that of bearing the name of America, but she will receive a gift from the nation by which she hopes not to be regarded as a stranger. That will not humiliate her. Such an act of generosity will console her feelings, honor her name, flatter her family, and even her country. The gifts of a nation always honor those who receive them. When the world shall know that the American nation has done an act of generosity in favor of the descendant of Vespucius, will not the approbation of all man kind be a glorious recompense ? And true gratitude will remain in the heart of AMERICA Vespucci."
It had long been rumoured that there existed among the papers of Mr. Madison, a complete and accurate report of the Debates in the Convention which framed the Constitution, and the verification of the fact since his death, may be justly regarded as one of the most interesting events in the history of our national literature. The feeling every day deepening and strengthening throughout the land, that to the political advantages secured to them by that happy instrument the people of this country are mainly indebted for the utterly unexampled national prosperity which has been the portion of the United States, and that with its inviolable maintenance that onward destiny is inseparably linked; as well as the conviction every day becoming clearer with the great mass of our people, that the only guarantee for the continuance of these manifold blessings, is to be found in a strict construction of its provisions in regulating all public action, and in bringing every political measure to the rigid test of its restrictions, have united to give a value almost sacred to every authentic document calculated to throw light upon the history of the Constitution, and on the opinions and motives which actuated its framers in perfecting what, with all its faults, must be pronounced the noblest, and most perfect political code the world has ever seen.
The paucity and meagre character of the materials which we possess bearing on the history of the Constitution, will give addi. tional value to the richness of these newly discovered treasures.
* Debates in the Congress of the Confederation, as taken in the years 1782,-'3, and 1787, by James Madison, then a member, with letters and extracts of letters from him during the periods of his service in that Congress. MSS. 510 pages.
Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, by James Madison, a member. MSS. 1,246 pages. (Both purchased by Congress, and about to be published by their direction. )