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with the administration of the Government. money was as dirt. The treasury was oppressed with it, and the only solicitude was how to get clear of what was considered an useless burden. Hence the vast increase of expenditures; hence the loose and inattentive administration of our fiscal concerns; hence the heavy defalcations. Nor are these remarks confined to the executive department of the Government; they apply to all—to the two Houses of Congress as well as to other branches. But there is no longer a surplus. The treasury is exhausted, and the work of retrenchment, economy, and accountability is forced on us. Reform in the fiscal action of the Government can no longer be delayed, and I rejoice that such is the fact. Economy and accountability are virtues belonging to free and popular governments-and without which, they cannot long endure. The assertion is pre-eminently true when applied to this Government; and hence the prominent place they occupy in the creed of the State Rights and Republican school.

Having taken these steps, every measure of prominence originating in the principles and policy of the National Federal school will become obliterated, and the Government will have been brought back, after the lapse of fifty years, to the point of original departure,—when it may be put on its new tack. To guard against a false steerage thereafter, one important measure, in addition to those enumerated, will be indispensable :-to place the new States, as far as the public domain is concerned, in a condition as independent of the Government as the old. It is as much due to them, as it is indispensable to accomplish the great object in view. The public domain, within these States, is too great a stake to be left under the control of this Government. It is difficult to estimate the vast addition it makes to its power and patronage, and the controlling and corrupting influence which it may exercise over the Presidential election, and through that,

VOL. II1.-26

the strong impulse it may receive in a wrong direction. Till it is removed, there can be no assurance of a successful and safe steerage, even if every other sinister influence should be removed.

It would be presumptuous in me, Mr. President, to advise those who are charged with the administration of the Government, what course to adopt ; but, if they would hear the voice of one who desires nothing for himself, and whose only wish is to see the country prosperous, free, and happyI would say to them,—you are placed in the most remarkable juncture that has ever occurred since the establishment of the Federal Government. By seizing it, you may bring the vessel of state to a position, where she may take a new tack, and thereby escape all the shoals and breakers, among which a false steerage has run her, and bring her triumphantly into her destined port, with honor to yourselves, and safety to those on board. Take, then, your ground boldly ; avow your object ; disclose your measures ; and let the people see clearly that you intend—what Jefferson designed to do, but, from adverse circumstances, could not accomplish—to reverse the measures originating in principles and policy uncongenial to our political system-to divest the Government of all undue patronage and influence—to restrict it to the few great objects intended by the constitution—in a word, to give a complete ascendency to the good old Virginia school over its antagonist, which time and experience have proved to be foreign to our system--and you may count with confidence on their support, without looking to any other means of success. Should you take such a course at this propitious moment, our free and happy institutions may be perpetuated for generations; but, if a different, short will be their duration.

On this question of patronage, let me add, in conclusion, that, according to my conception, the great and leading error in Hamilton and his school originated in a mistake as to the analogy between ours and the British system of Government. If we were to judge by their outward form, there is, indeed, a striking analogy between them in many particulars ; but if we look within, at their spirit and genius, never were two free Governments so perfectly dissimilar. They are, in fact, the very opposites. Of all free governments that ever existed -no, I will enlarge the proposition-of all governments that ever existed, free or despotic, the British Government can bear the largest amount of patronage—the greatest exaction and pressure on the people, without changing its character, or running into revolution. The greater, in fact, its patron

the stronger it is—till the pressure begins to crush the mass of population with its superincumbent weight. But directly the opposite is the case with ours. Of all governments that ever existed, it can stand under the least patronage, in proportion to the population and wealth of the country, without changing its character, or hazarding a revolution. I have not made these assertions lightly. They are the result of much reflection, and can be sustained by conclusive reasons drawn from the nature of the two Governments ; but this is not the proper occasion to discuss the subject.


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On the Motion of Mr. Benton to strike out the 19th **** and 20th sections of the Independent Treasury Bill,

the clauses which permit the reception and disbursement of Federal Paper; made in the Senate, January 16th, 1840.

[MR. Benton having spoken at great length in support of his motion, Mr. Wright briefly remarked, that the matter was of no practical importance, as there would be in a short time, no outstanding Federal paper to receive or disburse. The debate was continued by Messrs. Norvell, Walker, and Allen, in favor of the motion, and Mr. Clay in opposition. In the course of his remarks, Mr. C. denounced the Bill as it stood, and as proposed to be amended, as essentially a “ Government Bank ;” and referred, in words of strong condemnation, to the course of Mr. Calhoun in regard to it. Mr. Calhoun replied :-)

It is said that extremes sometimes meet; of the truth of which we have an illustration in this case, in which the avowed opponent (Mr. Benton), and the avowed friend (Mr. Clay), of the credit system, object to the Government using its own credit ; the one to the use of treasury notes, and the other to the use of treasury drafts. I, as the friend of the final and complete divorce of Government and banks, am opposed to the views of each extreme. It is my conviction, that if the Government should have the blindness to repudiate the use of its own credit, it would go far to defeat the policy of this bill, by restoring, in the end, the very union it is intended to dissever. The reason is obvious. Paper has, to a certain extent, a decided advantage over gold and silver. It is preferable in large and distant transactions, and cannot, in a country like ours, be dispensed with in the fiscal action of the Government, without much unnecessary expense and inconvenience: the truth of which would soon be manifest, if the Government should consent to dispense with the use of treasury drafts. But this is not the only form in which it may be convenient or necessary for it to use its own credit. It may be compelled to use it for circulation, in a more permanent form, as the only means of avoiding—what I regard a great evil-a federal debt. I am decidedly opposed to governmental loans. I believe them to be, in reality, little better than a fraud on the community, if made in bank-notes —and highly injurious, if made in large amounts in specie. I saw enough in the late war, to put me on my guard against them. I saw the Government borrow the notes of insolvent banks, the credit of which depended almost exclusively on

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the fact, that they were received and disbursed by the Government as money. I saw the Government borrow these worthless rags--worthless but for the credit it gave them at the rate of eighty for one hundred ; that is, for every eighty dollars it borrowed of these notes, it gave one hundred dollars of its stock, losing six per cent. interest.

Still worse ; I saw the Government, with the view of conciliating the banks, which were fleecing the community, permit them to discredit its own paper, by refusing to receive its treasury notes at par, though bearing six per cent. interest, for their own worthless trash, without interest ; and thus degrading and sinking its own credit below that of insolvent banks. All this I saw.

Now, Sir, I hold that it is only by the judicious use of Government credit, that a repetition of a similar state of things can be avoided in the event of another war. be laid down as a maxim, that without banks and bank-notes, large Government loans are impracticable ; and without some substitute, such loans, in the event of war, would be unavoidable. The only substitute will be found to be in the direct use, by the Government, of its own credit. Now, as I regard the borrowing from banks, not only as one link in the connection between Government and banks, but as inevitably leading to the use of bank-notes in the collection and disbursement of its revenue, I also regard the use, by the Government, of its own credit, in the form of treasury notes, or some other and better form, as indispensable to the permanent success of the policy of this bill. If the Government had relied on its credit, instead of loans from banks, in the late war; if it had then refused to receive and pay away bank-notes, as this bill proposes,-or had had but the manliness to refuse to receive the notes of banks which refused to receive its notes at par,—I venture little in saying, that the expense of the war might have been reduced forty millions.

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