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a legal tender; to extend it through all the channels of trade, by adopting it in the minutest fractions of currency; to magnify the necessities which were beyond the control of the banks, and had forced them into their present position; and to praise their magnanimity and forbearance in shaving, and not crushing, the people. Good citizens of the United States, pause here for one moment, and reflect on the brief his tory of one year, extending from June, 1836, to June, 1837. Consider the dangerous and fatal precedent of distributing the surplus revenues among the States, as a means of corruption, a basis for increasing banking, and a rich boon to be scram: bled after by the wild schemes of internal improvement. Consider how the public funds were scattered among the States and Territories, not with a regard to their safe-keeping and disbursement, but solely with regard to the avaricious demand of the banks. Consider the bold and reckless career of those institutions, in the midst of known and acknowledged dangers. Consider, when those dangers could no longer be avoided, with what perfect unanimity they resolved to defy all laws and penalties, violate their faith and obligations to the country, and rely on their own omnipotence for protection and justification. And consider, above all, the unanimous voice with which your representatives resolved to accept the proffered bribe; and with what alacrity they came together to praise, justify, and sustain all the subscquent acts of bank usurpation. Can any man reflect seriously on these things and be not satisfied that all power has departed from the people, and is lodged in the hands of a monied oligarchy? Then would he not be convinced, though one rose from the dead.
But the chronicle of their deeds is not yet complete. After debasing the currency, violating every legal or moral obligation binding upon them; and while calling together their liege subjects and willing friends to register such edicts as they might prescribe in the premises, they had the audacity to demand that the Federal Gov. ernment also should continue to receive their depreciated paper, and retain the banks as the agents to collect, transfer, and disburse the national revenues. Entreaties, remonstrances, and, finally, threats of violence and revolution, were resorted to as means of intimidating the Executive, and forcing them to accept the immoral, fraudu. , lent, and debasing terms of the oligarchy. The President pointed them to the Constitution, which recognised nothing but gold and silver us a legal tender; and to the laws, which would receive nothing but gold and silver, or their equivalent, is payment of the public dues. But it was all in vain.
Men who regarded such obligations as mere cob-webs, to be brushed aside whenever they stood in the way of their interest or their advancement, could not conceive how others were so scrupulous in their observance. Their clamor and denunciation grew louder and louder. They even had the cunning and the adroitness to cast on the Executive the odium of their own acts. Having debased their paper below the constitutional standard, they thereby created two currencies—the better for the Government, and the baser for the people and made the salaries of Government. officers ten or fifteen per cent. more valuable than the same nominal amount received by the people. This odious distinction was charged on the President; he was charged with the design of ruining the people, and of fattening an army of office holders on their misfortunes. Happily for the country, however, the President was, possessed of a wisdom and a firmness which eminently fitted him for the crisis of the times. His duty was plain before him, and he steadily pursued it. He directed circulars to be sent to all the collectors, receivers, and disbursing officers, commanding that nothing but gold and silver, or its equivalent, shall be received in payment of public dues, or disbursed in payment of public creditors; and when Congress assembled in September, 1837, he recommended a total separation of bank and State a complete divorce of Government from the embraces of the whole banking system.
This measure constitutes the second grand epoch in the History of the Revolution through which we are now passing. The high tower of the oligarchy, their bastile of strength, had been hurled to the earth. Their thinking-head and controlling wil had been taken from them; but with the instinct of self-preservation they rallied
on the thousand other corporations prepared to their hand, seized the reins of Government, and were well nigh overturning the institutions, and crushing the liberties of the people, when by one false move they stumbled and fell. At that critical juncture, at that providential period, the President of the United States, truly representing the feelings and the interests of the people, lifted up the constitutional standard, and called on all who loved their country to come to the rescue, and save it from destruction. Until this crisis in their affairs, the oligarchy had always been divided in their councils, and estranged from each other in their feelings. Those who had sustained the Bank of the United States were angry with that portion of the fraternity who joined in putting it down, in order to build up their own petty institutions, and to usurp that authority which properly belongs to a National Institution. The minor interests, on the other hand, were always jealous and suspicious, lest the greater should again wrest from them tthe power they felt themselves happy in having obtained; but the whole craft was now endangered. Recent events had opened the eyes of the people, and they showed a determination to bring back that power which, by the laws of nature, and by their own Constitution, was vested in them; but which, for nearly fifty years, had been lodged in the hands of associated wealth. In this state of things the oligarchy were not long in coming to their conclusions. They might quarrel with each other over the spoils in the hour of triumph and security, but a common danger from without would soon bring them together for mutual defence.
Differing in no principle whatever, and slightly only in the detail of their mea sures, the one advocating a United States Bank, the other a United States Banking System, the two wings of this great interest were resolved that their liule rivalries for power and for interest should not be an obstacle in the way of a union against the common enemy. When the proposition, therefore, was made for a total divorce, all petty feuds were buried. Pilate and Herod made friends--entered into a close union--formed an alliance offensive and defensive, and have been ever since zealously coöperating to effect the same object—a re-union of the Government with the banking interest.
Notwithstanding the total failure of all their schemes; notwithstanding it was obvious as day that the operations of their own hand had brought the calamities upon them, yet the Conservative wing of the oligarchy insisted that the specie circular had done all the mischief; patched up another scheme of five and twenty banks, without doubt, embracing the old United States Bank, and urged that upon Congress for their adoption. They insisted that Government should take it in their embraces—place their confidence in it, and thereby restore confidence in the people. If the Government refused to do this, they declared it would shake the credit of the banks, and of bank paper; paralyze their ability to assist the energies of the people in recovering from the recent shock, and postpone indefinitely the possibility of resumption.
The Federal wing of the oligarchy, who in former years, when this scheme was opposed to their own, condemned and ridiculed it, were now loud in its praises, and recommended it as a panacea to heal the maladies of the country. The Representatives of the people, however, awoke from the lethargy of long years, refused to adopt any such system. Yet none of the predicted evils have come to pass. Many of the banks finding that the Executive resolutely persisted in adhering to the constitution and the laws, and steadily refused having any dealings with them or their debased currency; finding that their friends in Congress were not strong enough to force him from that position; and perceiving that public sentiment was rising against them, resolved immediately to fall back into their usual channels of business, and commence the curtailment and redemption of their paper issues. Mr. Biddle, however, entrenched himself behind his cotton bags, and declared that he would not resume until the Government abandoned its position. All the banks South and West of him, being entirely under his control, were compelled to follow his example. But he, at length yielding io the considerations of interest, resumed specie payments that he might consummate a favorable contract with the Government, which they refused to complete until his notes were made equivalent to specie, and his vaults a legal depository, by a resumption of specie payment. Again following his example, all the banks South and West attempted to resume. Now we call on the people to bear in mind the history of this transaction--to treasure it up as a precious truth to be of infinite service hereafter. That by a steady adherence to the constitutional standard on the part of the Government, the banks have been compelled to come up to that standard. Their obvious design was to force the Government down to their level; to constrain them, as they had done the States, to legalize bank paper, and to receive and pay it out to public creditors. Let us suppose, for a moment, they had succeeded in the accomplishment of their purposes. What would have been the consequences? In many of the Atlantic States bank paper was depreciated about ten per cent. In the South and West it was depreciated, in many instances, five-and-twenty per cent. If the Government then had consented to receive bank paper, a nominal payment of one hundred dollars in the At. lantic States would have amounted to ninety dollars when valued by the constitutional standard ; a similar payment in the South and West, estimated in the same way, would have amounted to seventy-five dollars,-a loss in the one case of a tenth, and in the other, of a fourth of the entire revenue. Public creditors would have been paid in the same unequal proportions. Not to speak of the unconstitutionality and injustice of such a course, what effect would it have had on the morals and temper of the people ? Every one would strive to make the best of such a state of things, and to derive from it all the advantages he could. There would be the strongest inducement to all the States to depreciate their currency as much as possible, seeing that all have been placed on the same level by the Government. The constitutional standard being lost sight of, and the banks no longer required to keep their issues within a certain ratio to the precious metals on hand, would pour forth their paper rags without stint, until one dollar in silver would be worth a hundred, then two hundred, then four, then five hundred, constantly sinking until finally the whole would come down a dead mass, and involve the honest farmers and laborers in utter ruin. Such were the consequences of excessive issues of continental money during the Revolution; and of assignats in France; and such would have been the consequences of the measures proposed and urged by the banks and their friends at the time of the suspension. And to such a condition are they resolved at last to bring us. At no period of pecuniary derangement and disaster, was the disproportion between bank issues and the specie for its redemption greater than at the present moment.
The banks are immersed in a debt of more than one hundred and ten millions of dollars abroad, which at a moment's notice may drain the country of all its specie on a demand of foreign capitalists. From a tabular statement of the returns of the local banks throughout the United States, received at the Treasury Department, for the period nearest January, 1839, it appears that the loans, discounts, and circulation of the banks there enumerated, exceeded the total amount of redemption specie by four hundred and seventy millions of dollars.
The necessary results are beginning to appear, banks are suspending and blowing up in every section of the Union. A sky-rocket at regular intervals is shot into the heavens as a signal of distress. Alarmed agitation pervades the whole fraternity, and at no distant period we may look for another panic and general prostration But notwithstanding these threatening signs of the times, the bank mania is evidently on the increase. We daily hear from the State Legislatures, of new creations of banks, and enlargement of the capital of old ones, and the incorporation of internal improvement companics with banking privileges. A new impulsc, a perfect steam-engine propulsion, has recently been given by the introduction of what is called the free banking system. Be it known that we are friendly to a free banking system based on specie and real capital, and confined strictly to trading and commercial purposes. But the free banking system now in fashion is the monstrum hor. rendum of this present Revolution, and is destined to play more havoc with the
morals, fortunes, and liberties of the people, than the famed guillotine with the heads of men.
Judging of its spirit and final development from what has already been done, we may fairly infer that issues of this new invention will in a short time equal in nominal value the entire property, both personal and real, of the whole Union. Mort gages on real estate, negroes, and stocks, thereby embracing every kind of property, will be made the basis of banking operations; and every one fearing that his neighbor may derive more advantages from it than himself, will eagerly pledge his fortune, and press into the scheme, so that the people and the banks will be involved and entangled with each other in paper credits in some form or other, to the entire amount of property in the country. Now, when we consider that a circulating medium sufficient for all business purposes is only required to bear a certain ratio, one-fifth or one-twentieth, as some make it, to the annual productions—a currency such as ours is destined to be, -equaling in nominal value—not only the annual productions, but the entire property of the community, both personal and real, must sink down of its own weight; its enormous over proportions must crumble it in, and crush it into a mass of ruins. The whole circulation must become spurious and worthless a world of promises without the intention or capacity of fulfilment—a bottomless gulf of falsehoods, in which all things, public and private, are doomed to sink and disappear. But do the original inventors of the falsehood, the cunning forger of the lies, suffer the smart of their detection and protest? Oh, no! Oh, no! that were some compensation, but far otherwise is the result. Lies, and the burthen of evil, they bring are passed on, shisted from back to back, and from rank to rank-and so land ultimately on the hard labouring mass who with spade and matlock, with sore heart and empty wallet, daily come in contact with reality—and can pass the cheal no further.
Then will the tyrant come, and, like another Neptune, will ride over the troubled billows, wave his omnipotent trident, bid the waters cease their commotions, roll back into the caves, and be hushed, and forever after will reign in undisputed sway with a rod of iron. Such will be the end of the Revolution, dimly shadowed forth because the reality has yet to come. But if the events do not fulfil our words, then say we are false prophets, and have not rightly warned the people; yet we are deept; impressed with a consciousness that the truth only has been delineated, and unless the people take heed in time, such must be their inevitable doom. If they will not heed our voice of warning, we pray them to learn wisdom from their own experience. Look back on the history of the oligarchy for the last fifty years, such as we have portrayed, it and such as we know it to have been, and what do we find ? Repeated acts of violence on the constitution ; a continued prostitution of the laws for selfish and fraudulent purposes-and a total perversion of Government to the oppression and ruin of the people, and the aggrandisement of themselves. Our fathers declared, even before the constitution was formed, that the principles and the favorite measures of the oligarchy" were incompatible with the public safety, totally destructive of that equality which ought to prcvail in a republic." The bitter experience of half a century has impressed upon us the truth of their anticipations, yet we linger! still hesitate to go forward and meet the lowering front of the enemy. Are you prepared then, sons of America ! lamely to yield up the hereditary franchises of more than two centuries, and the birthright of your fathers, won by their blood and treasure. Are you prepared as degenerate sons to receive the chains which are forging for you? To bow in willing submission to the yoke inimical interests are about to bind upon your necks. If your hearts have not been tamed by long years of usurpation, and your spirits enervated by the degeneracy of the times; if you still love liberty, and the blessings of independence, and are willing to lift a hand in their defence, then come and rally around the standard of the Constitution. That has been planted on a rock-eternal as the rock of ages—truth, justice, and the rights of man-principles understood, felt, and practised by your fathers, and bequeathed to you as the greatest blessings that could be conferred by a race of patriots, heroes, and statesmen.
Amidst the difficulties that beset us, and in view of the dangers that threaten, in those eternal principles alone can we find safety; on them alone we may repose with an assurance that they will bear us through every peril. You have but little understood them, never practised them. From the foundation of the Government, you have been in the hands of an oligarchy, lead, duped, deceived by them. For forty years have they led you through the wilderness, and at length brought you to the point whence you started—taxation withoul representalion. As you love your salvation, then, come out from among them. Have charity to believe they do not maliciously design your subjugation; pity and forgive, but eschew their ways, abandon their doctrines, their principles, their institutions, which are sinking you into ruin, and plant yourselves, ere it be too late, on the rock of the Constitution. What are the doctrines of the Constitution on that great question now before youwhich for forty years has been the source of endless perplexities, and has at length coine up for decision-which peculiarly constitutes the crisis of the times, and on which the great battle for independence and dominion has to be fought? As truth always is, they are few, simple, intelligible. They require that legislation shall not be perverted from the common defence and general welfare, to promote the interests of a few sections, classes, or individuals; that no more revenues shall be collected than are necessary for the economical administration of a Government limited to a few general and specified objects; that they shall be collected in actual values, gold and silver, and not in spurious promises; shall be safely kept by'sworn and chosen officers of the Government, under high penalties for the faithful discharge of their duties; shall not be long retained or accumulated, so as to be a temptation to the officer to use, and to the representative to misapply them; but promptly employed for the purposes they were collected, and thence returned into the ordinary channels of trade. These are the principles of the Constitution, which must bring home conviction to every mind; these are the doctrines the present Administration have embraced as their own, on which they have staked their salvation, and now call upon the people to come up to their support and defence. And most assuredly will they come. Can any one hesitate ? Is there one so besotted by the delusions of party, so entangled in its meshes, that he is afraid to venture on these simple truths? Then let him go; he is unworthy the name of a freeman. Afraid to trust the principles of the Constitution! As well might the Christian be afraid of his Bible. When the spirit of reformation comes upon the church, after long years of corruption and heresy, where does she look for guides to lead her through the mazes of a tangled labyrinth—to the practices and homilies of fallible, designing men, or to the oracles of inspiration? And in this day of political corruption and heresy, the spirit of reformation has seized on the people, and to the oracles of the Constitution must they look for their guides.
Resolved no longer to be duped and deceived, they are rousing themselves as one man, and coming forth to the battle; already do we feel the deep ground-swellings that precede the rolling of the mighty billows; even now do we hear their voice, mighty and terrible, like the voice of many waters. Onward they comc, an innumerable host, eagerly pressing into the last Waterloo.field; aye-a more than Waterloo field-nobler principles, deeper interests, are staked upon its issue; such a field as was fought on the plains of heaven, when angel and archangel, principalities and powers, were assembled to prove the strength of Omnipotence over the prince of darkness. And shall the sovereign decrees of the same almighty lawgiver, holy and just, prevail on earth, is now the theme to be determined. Shall man, the workmanship of his hands, endowed with faculties divine, and made heir of immortality, live according to the laws of his nature, enjoy the birth-rights of his creation, tread the green earth, breathe the limpid air untrammelled, live by the sweat of his own brow, enjoy the fruits of his own toil, and as free of limb, so be free of heart; free to choose his mode of happiness, and to follow the impulses of that divine, ever-active principle pervading all things, existing in all natures, and strongest in his own bosom to subvert its