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with great incidental advantages to the whole community. Beyond that limit I see no safety and much danger.
What form individual credit will assume after the separation, is still more uncertain—but I see clearly that the existing fetters that restrain it will be thrown off. The credit of an individual is his property, and belongs to him as much as his land and houses, to use it as he pleases, with the single restriction, which is imposed on all our rights, that it is not to be used so as to injure others. What limitations this restriction may prescribe, time and experience will show ; but, whatever they may be, they ought to assume the character of general laws, obligatory on all alike, and open to all ; and under the provisions of which all may be at liberty to use their credit, jointly or separately, as freely as they now use their land and houses, without any preference by special acts, in any form or shape, to one over another. Every thing like monopoly must ultimately disappear, before the process which has begun will finally terminate. I see,
not less clearly, that, in the process, a separation will take place between the use of capital and the use of credit. They are wholly different, and, under the growing intelligence of the times, cannot much longer remain confounded in their present state of combination. They are as distinct as a loan and an indorsement; in fact, the one is but giving to another the use of our capital, and the other the use of our credit ; and yet, so dissimilar are they, that we daily see the most prudent individuals lending their credit for nothing, in the form of indorsement or security, who
, would not loan the most inconsiderable sum without interest. But, dissimilar as they are, they are completely confounded in banking operations, which is one of the main sources of the profit, and the consequent dangerous flow of capital in that direction. A bank discount, instead of a loan, is very little more, as I have shown, than a mere exchange of credit -an exchange of the joint credit of the drawer and indorser
of the note, discounted for the credit of the bank in the shape of its own note. In the exchange, the bank insures the parties to the note discounted, and the community, which is the loser if the bank fails, virtually insures the bank ; and yet, by confounding this exchange of credit with the use of capital, the bank is permitted to charge an interest for this exchange, rather greater than an individual is permitted to charge for a loan, to the great gain of the bank and loss to the community. I say loss, for the community can never enjoy the great and full benefit of the credit system, till loans and credits are considered as entirely distinct in their nature, and the compensation for the use of each be adjusted to their respective nature and character. Nothing would give a greater impulse to all the business of society. The superior cheapness of credit would add incalculably to the productive powers of the community, when the immense gains, which are now made by confounding them, shall come in aid of production.
Whatever other changes the credit system is destined to undergo, these are certainly some which it must ; but when, and how the revolution will end—whether it is destined to be sudden and convulsive, or gradual and free from shock, time alone can disclose. Much will depend on the decision of the present question, and the course which the advocates of the system will pursue. If the separation takes place, and is acquiesced in by those interested in the system, the prospect will be, that it will gradually and quietly run down, without shock or convulsions, which is my sincere prayer ; but if not—if the reverse shall be insisted on, and, above all, if it should be effected through a great political struggle (it can only so be effected), the revolution would be violent and convulsive. A great and thorough change must take place. It is wholly unavoidable. The public attention begins to be roused throughout the civilized world to this all-absorbing subject There is nothing left to be controlled but the mode and manner, and it is better for all that it should be gradual and quiet than the reverse. All the rest is destiny.
I have now, Mr. President, said what I intended, without reserve or disguise. In taking the stand I have, I change no relation, personal or political, nor alter any opinion I have heretofore expressed or entertained. I desire nothing from the Government or the people. My only ambition is to do my duty-which I shall follow wherever it may lead, regardless alike of attachments or antipathies, personal or political. I know full well the responsibility I have assumed. I see clearly the magnitude and the hazard of the crisis, and the danger of confiding the execution of measures in which I take so deep a responsibility, to those in whom I have no reason to have any special confidence. But all this deters me not, when I believe that the permanent interest of the country is involved. My course is fixed.
My course is fixed. I go forward. If the administration recommend what I approve on this great question, I will cheerfully give my support ; if not, I shall oppose ; but, in opposing, I shall feel bound to suggest what I believe to be the proper measure, and which I shall be ready to back, be the responsibility what it may—looking only to the country, and not stopping to estimate whether the benefit shall inure either to the administration or the opposition
On the Passage of the Bill to grant Pre-emption Rights
to actual settlers on the Public Lands, made in the Senate, January 27th, 1838
Messrs. WEBSTER, Bayard, and Fulton, having concluded their remarks, Mr. Calhoun said :- :-]
He had remained silent during this discussion, from the conviction derived from the experience of the last session, that all opposition would be unavailing. Nor did he rise now with the least expectation of changing the vote of a single Senator—but simply to state the grounds of his objections.
If the passage of this bill would terminate the Pre-emption System, he, for one, would not object to it; for he felt, with the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Webster), that, under the influence of the passage of similar bills, many persons had made improvements on the public lands, of which it would be almost cruel to deprive them ; and he regretted that the Senator, who had turned his attention to the subject, and who was so well qualified for the task, had not incorporated some provision in the bill, to terminate the system, as he was as much opposed to its continuance as himself. Had he done so, the bill would have received his support ; but, as it is, he was compelled to vote against it.
Considering it, then, as a continuation of a system of passing acts, from time to time, to give to the occupant a pre-emption in the sale of the public lands, he would askwhen and how the system is to terminate ? The passage of every additional bill but confirmed and strengthened it. The same exigency under which this is passed, would in.
crease the necessity of passing another hereafter—and that, a subsequent one-until it would terminate in the surrender of the public domain to those who could first seize on it ; unless some means should be adopted in time to terminate the system. Now, Sir, if this surrender would be to the poor, but honest and industrious settlers-giving to each the one hundred and sixty acres of vacant land on which he might settle first—to be a home for himself and family—he would have no great objections. But would this be the end ? Would it benefit the man with many children and but little money, who might desire to emigrate to the West, in order to improve the condition of himself and family ? His opinion was, that its termination would be directly the reverse. Instead of benefiting the poor and honest emigrant, the system would operate, in the end, to the almost exclusive benefit of the rich, the strong and the violent. Let it be once firmly and universally fixed in the public mind—as it surely will be under its operation—that the public lands belong, of right, to those who can first seize on them; and the result will be that, the moment a treaty is held to extinguish the Indian title to a tract of land and long before it is submitted to us for our ratification—an armed body of men, acting for themselves, or with speculators, will rush into it, and make themselves masters of the country; and will exact more from the poor and peaceable emigrant for the liberty of settling, than the United States would for the quiet fee-simple of the soil.
If he was correctly informed, the Iowa country had been already seized on by a lawless body of armed men, who had
a parcelled out the whole region, and had entered into written stipulations to stand by and protect each other-and who were actually exercising the rights of ownership and sovereignty over it-permitting none to settle without their leave -and exacting more for the license to settle, than the Government does for the land itself. In confirmation of this, he