« ZurückWeiter »
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 Atlantic 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 companies with banking privileges. A new impulse, 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 horrendum 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. Mortgages 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 worthlessa 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, shifted from back to back, and from rank to rank—and so land ultimately on the hard labouring mass who with spade and mattock, with sore heart and empty wallet, daily come in contact with reality—and can pass the cheat 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 deeply 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 prevail 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! tamely 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 without representation. 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 you— which for forty years has been the source of endless perplexities, and has at length come 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 come, an innumerable host, eagerly pressing into the last Waterloo-field; aye—a more than Waterloofield-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
noxious qualities, to sweep away infection, and suppress all evil? or shall he live in servitude to his fellow man-till the earth, and bear its fruits an offering to a fellow worm; walk prone and cowering like a brute, employed as a tool, an implement or passive thing, without acknowledgment of right or interest in the end; his soul made abject, to be abused as selfishness may prompt, made weak in all good, and strong alone in evil? Shall this, the only spot on earth where man enjoys the high behests of Heaven, and marches onward to fulfil the laws of his creation, cease to glory in its privileges; the star of hope to all nations be blotted from the firmament; and the peace and good will on earth ordained, of God, be put far back unto generations yet unborn? These are the mighty interests thrown into the scales of perilous war-the precious jewels cast on the uncertain tide of this revolution. Conscious of the awful wagers staked upon the issue, the arch-enemy of truth and human kind, the grand hierarch of apostacy, plies every enginery that malice or the dread of falling fortunes can invent, to dupe and draw into his train states and principalities, and men of every grade, regardless of the means, as is his wont, so that the end may be obtained. Amid the many thousands who have fallen a prey to his seductive arts, and the shrewd appliances of private ends and selfish interests, there is one at least who proves a faithful Abdiel.
Among the faithless, faithful only he;
Nor number, nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed!
And who is this faithful Abdiel? The standard of a mighty State he bears, scorning to hold allegiance with apostacy; foremost in the rank he moves, bearing aloft a fit emblem of the State he is proud to serve; a goddess erect and calm, though treading chains and tyranny bencath her feet; a banner, which never waved o'er craven hearts or faltering lines; a surer harbinger of victory than the Prior's sacred relique, on uplifted spear, in Flodden field.
Renowned old commonwealth! Ancientest, purest, noblest, of the train of vestal sisters, who feed the flame on freedom's altar! When first the tyrant came, with holy zeal, she fought against him, and flung upon the breeze her thrilling war-cry, Give me liberty or give me death! which now is echoed back with cheerful voice by her thousand sons. First, to read aright the charter of human liberties, and pluck it from the grasp of ruthless enemies; again, she comes to save it from pervertion and the taint of treacherous friends. Ever prodigal of her wealth and of her sons, in liberty's defence;-pre-eminent she stands in deeds and sacrifice; and yet, above them all, she values most, virtue, honor, and the sacred cause of truth. Scorning selfishness and low ambition, one end alone she seeks-the common good. Who fails to study that, although her son, she will repudiate. Even now a lesson she is teaching, fraught with more of good to human kind than all the lessons of the schools-a lesson which the world must learn ere Government can rest on sure and just foundations-that law and truth, and principle alone, not feeble man, must be a nation's guide; that no distinction, eminence or service, can compensate the loss of those great truths of which she is alike the guardian and the foster mother.
NOTES OF THE MONTH.
The most surprising invention of science since the time of Sir Humphrey Davy, is that of Photogenic, or, as we prefer calling it, Lucigraphic, Drawing, by means of the sun's rays, which his sagacious mind thought possible, but which he failed to perfect. His experiments, nevertheless, became the seed of new attempts, which resulted, by a wonderful coincidence, in a simultaneous announcement of the new art in Paris and London. The following particulars from the French and English papers will give some idea of this new discovery in the fine arts.
[From a French Journal of February.]
MR. DAGUERRE AND HIS NEW INVENTION.-For some time past, Mr. Daguerre's discovery has been the theme of much marvellous and contradictory report. We are happy to be able to state some facts relative to this really wonderful discovery. This artist, to whom the public is indebted for the splendid subjects of the Diorama, has for several years been engaged in making investigations into the properties of light, which he has pursued with all that ardour and patient perseverance which are the true characteristics of genius. After a series of observations made during nearly fifteen years, he succeeded in collecting and retaining upon a solid surface the natural light, and to embody the fugitive and impalpable, reflected on the retina of the eye, in a mirror, or in the apparatus of the camera obscura. Figure to yourself a glass, which, after having received your image, renders the portrait ineffaceable as a painting, with a resemblance, the most faithful to nature possible: such is the wonderful discovery of Mr. Daguerre.
But what, it may eagerly be inquired, is the inventor's secret? what is the substance possessed of such astonishing susceptibility, as not only to become penetrated by the luminous ray, but also to retain its impression, operating at once like the eye and the optic nerve, as the material instrument of sensation and the sensation itself? With this we are unacquainted. Messrs. Arago and Biot have made a report to the Académie des Sciences, of the effects of Mr. D.'s discovery, but they have not defined the causes of the same; they have merely given descriptions. We are indebted to the kindness of the inventor for a sight of a collection of master-pieces, designed by Nature herself; all we can do is to state our impressions. As each successive picture met our view, it was a fresh burst of admiration. What delicacy in the halftints, what depth in the tone of the shadows! how rich and velvety the effect of the parts in high relief, how salient the alto-relievo! One of the figures was a crouching Venus, seen under various points of view, each of which was a multiplied statue.— Nothing could be more magical. But, it may be asked-How do you know that this was not the work of some able artist? The question is readily answered. Mr. D. placed in our hands a magnifying glass of considerable power, and then could we perceive, as in the inimitable works of nature herself, all the finely blending lines, invisible to the naked eye. There was a view of Paris, taken from the Pont des Arts; the minutest details, the interstices of pavements and brick work, the effects of humidity from falling rain-all were reproduced as in nature. On viewing the same scene through an eye-glass, the inscription over a distant shop, altogether invisible on the model, was brought forward in its proper degree of perfection. In the same manner, by the aid of a solar microscope, the most minute objects were magnified several thousand fold; even gossamers floating in the air were rendered visible; and