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found in the gold region of the South, so that one objection that had been urged against the bill was here obviated. He hoped that his colleague would let the bill pass, and if he thought that the mints were not rendering an adequate service, compared with the expense of keeping them up, let him institute an inquiry, and then, if the facts shall justify it, propose their discontinuance. It was not fair now to decide that the experiment of these two mints had or had not failed. When they were first established, gold was collected in considerable quantities, though the production was now very much reduced. He had some little knowledge of that region of country, and he ventured to say that the coinage of $120,000, the amount coined by the mint which had done the smallest business, was enough to justify the continuance of it. He believed that gold bullion had risen since the establishment of these mints eight or nine per cent. ; which was a clear gain to the producer, who, previous to this, had to exchange his bullion for paper at a serious loss. As to the falling off of the production of these mines, it might be easily accounted for. The mines were divided into two descriptions—deposit mines and vein mines. The deposit mines, from their nature, would be soon exhausted; but the vein mines were scarcely yet begun to be understood, and from them a very considerable production might be expected. There had been powerful reasons why these mines had fallen off. Gold and paper were antagonists to each other. The paper circulation had swollen immensely-prices had consequently risen, and the depression of gold and silver followed. The increased cost of production, which lessened the value of the gold with the rise in the price of cotton, took away much of the capital that was employed in mining. He might add to this, the demand for labor on the railroads in the progress of construction about that time. If the present state of depression should continue for any length of time, we should have an opportunity of knowing what effect the opposite state of facts would produce. In that event he thought the products of the mines would be as great as ever. If an expansion of the paper currency again took place, gold would again sink.
There were a variety of opinions with regard to the capacity of these mines for producing gold in any considerable quantities. Some thought that it would turn out to be the richest gold region in the world, while others—scientific men -thought differently. This would be decided by time alone. He did not think, however, that any judicious decision could be made now.
Mr. C. concluded by expressing the hope that his colleague would permit the bill to pass now; and, after having collected what information he deemed necessary from the Secretary of the Treasury, bring the subject before the Senate in a distinct form.
S P E E CH
On the motion of Mr. Benton to print thirty thousand
extra copies of the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury in relation to the Expenditures of the Government; made in the Senate, May 7th, 1840.
[Messrs. Benton, Brown, and Hubbard, having concluded their remarks in favor of the motion, and Messrs. Preston, Southward, and Webster against it, -Mr. Calhoun said :-)
I am the friend of economy, and have, I trust, ever evinced it by my votes and other public acts.
I believe that in all free states it is a cardinal virtue, and in ours an indispensable one, if we desire to preserve our political institutions. As the friend of economy, I rejoice to hear this debate. The crimination and recrimination of pro
digality between the two sides of the Senate, is a proof that the day of extravagance is passed, and that of economy arrived. We have had a period of extravagance. It is manly to acknowledge the truth. Our expenditures have gone far beyond what they ought to have been. The important question is, What and who caused it ? The cause, Sir, will be found in an overflowing treasury, which had to be sluiced by appropriations to prevent an inundation ; not overflowing with gold and silver, but with bank-notes, paper credit, to retain which in the treasury, would, in effect, have been but to borrow so much from the banks for the time. The greatest of all absurdities is, to hoard up bank-notes, or credit, in the treasury. It is but to draw so much from circulation to be filled up by new issues ;—thus giving the banks interest both on the old and the new. But this is not the only objection. It is liable to another, and still stronger, if possible. The notes drawn from circulation being replaced by another issue of equal amount, the channels of circulation are kept full ; and when the Government comes to draw from the treasury the accumulated mass, the necessary effect is, that the addition to the already full channels of circulation, swells the tide till an inundation follows, sweeping all before it, such as we lately witnessed.
Yes, we have just passed through a period, in which the most wasteful and corrupt expenditures could not sluice the treasury fast enough to prevent the inundation of paper, but have left the country and Government in their present embarrassed condition. I now ask, What caused this overflowing treasury, with all the accompanying extravagance and following disasters? What, but the prolific parent of evil, the protective system-duties imposed, not for revenue, but to favor one branch of industry at the expense of all others,—and which exacted from the people more than the wants of the Government required, or even its waste and extravagance could expend.
It is difficult in the changed condition of things, and in the midst of the denunciation of extravagance and praise of economy, to realize the scenes through which we have lately passed. It is but four years since, when he was considered a benefactor who could devise some new scheme of spending money, and when the then Administration, notwithstanding the extravagance of appropriations, was censured for not spending the public money fast enough, and was even called upon, by a resolution of the Senate, to know how much it could spend. Such was the cause of the extravagance which is now condemned on all sides,--and such the fruits of a mistaken and mischievous policy.
In order to determine who is responsible for this extravagance, it is only necessary to decide who are responsible for the policy in which it originated. I then put the question : Who are the authors and supporters of the protective system ? I leave gentlemen to answer ; I submit it to the journals of Congress, and the public voice, to decide. Appropriations and expenditures are but consequences—dangerous and corrupting consequences ;—but, at the same time, consequences whose alternative—an accumulation of a surplus mass of bank-notes in the treasury—is, to say the least, not less dangerous and corrupting. It has been our misfortune to be cursed with these combined evils.
But, important as are these questions, there is another, still more so, relating to the future. The past is past, and cannot be recalled ; and a reference to it is only profitable, as furnishing lessons of experience. The future is still before us, with all its realities, and the important question is, Who are now the advocates and supporters of so calamitous a policy, in spite of the severe lessons of experience ? Time will show; and when it does it will make manifest who are the real friends of extravagance, and determined foes of economy and retrenchment. I repeat, economy is a cardinal republican virtue ; and that there never existed a govern
ment of the kind, in which it is so indispensable as in this
I do not intend to go into the reasons on this occasion ; but, of all governments, ours is that in which patronage and extravagance are the most corrupting and dangerous. Thus thinking, I rejoice that we are compelled to retrace our steps, and to economize. Yes—compelled by that which alone can enforce economy on a dominant party—an empty treasury. It is on this I rely. Its mandates must be obeyed ; and I wish it to be understood that I intend to use my best efforts to keep it low, till the Government is thoroughly reformed and restored to its original purity. Fill the treasury to overflowing to-day, and to-morrow the scenes of profusion and extravagance, through which we have thus far passed, would return. Nothing but stern necessity can correct such abuses ; and I now give notice that when the time arrives for the readjustment of the tariff, I shall resist all attempts to draw more money from the pockets of the people, than is absolutely necessary, with the most rigid economy, for the just and constitutional wants of the Government. In doing so, I shall give the highest evidence of being the friend of economy and of our free institutions. Here let me say that I deem fifteen millions of dollars annually, to be ample to meet all the just wants of the Government, including the Post-office Department. With this sum, we may place our civil list, and military establishment, in all its branches, on a respectable footing, -and enlarge our navy, so as to give protection to our wide-spread commerce, and to ensure to us the command of the adjacent seas.
I know nothing of the contents of the document which has caused this discussion ; but will vote for the motion without knowing whether the effect of the publication will be such as the mover contemplates or not. The public attention is roused to the subject of our expenditures, and whatever we publish in relation to it, will, I doubt not, be closely scrutinized. If there be errors in the report, or if it be