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THE

REGISTER OF PENNSYLVANIA.

DEVOTED TO THE PRESERVATION OF EVERY KIND OF USEFUL INFORMATION RESPECTING THE STATE.

EDITED BY SAMUEL HAZARD.

VOL. V.-NO. 16.

PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 17, 1830.

NO. 120

NATIONAL CURRENCY.

of direct dependence on the officers of Government, at SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,

variance with the whole scheme of our institutions.March 29, 1830,

The limit to which this currency should be issued, the Mr. Smith, of Maryland, made the following Report: persons to whom it would be lent, the securities taken The Committee on Finance, to which was referred a reso. for its repayment, the places where it should be redeem

lution of the 30th December, 1829, directing the Com- ed, involve great complication and great bazard, regardmittee to inquire into the expediency of establishing un ing it merely in a financial point of view, while, on more uniform Nutional Currency of the United States, and enlarged considerations of political expediency, the obto report thereon lo the Senate, report:

jections to it are, in the opinion of the committee, insupThat nothing short of the imperative order of the erable and fatal. Senate could induce the committee to enter on a subject Believing such a scheme to be impracticable, the so surrounded with difficulty. They undertake it with committee were consoled with the reflection that it is disidence and a distrust of their capacity to elucidate a unnecessary, as they are satisfied that the country is in subject that has engaged many nations, and the pens of the enjoyment of an uniform national currency, not only the ablest writers, without, as yet, coming to any defi. sound and uniform in itself, and perfectly adapted to all mite conclusion. It still remains to be determined, - the purposes of the Government and ihe community, What is the soundest and most uniform currency? One but inore sound and uniform than that possessed by nation assumes one system, another a different plan. any other eountry. The importance of this truth will jusIn one nation a plan is devised, and succeeds for a time tify the committee in stating some details to establish it. by prudent and restrictive emissions. Elated with suc The currency of the United States, the only legal curcess, large and more extensive emissions are risqued; rency, is gold and silver. All debts to the Government, a rapid nominal rise of all property takes place; the peo- and all debts to individuals, being received in that me. ple are not aware that such nominal rise is the effect of dium, and in no other. As, however, the amount of depreciation; the bubble bursts, and ruin to the unsus- coin requisite for these purposes would be unmanagea. pecting, is the consequence. All history shows such a ble and inconvenient, ibe United States, like other com. result in several nations, and particularly in that of the mercial countries, have adopted the system of making United States. The committee, engaged on a variety credit supply many of the uses of coin; and numerous of subjects, cannot devote so much time on the resolu- banking companies have been established. issuing notes, tion as the mover must believe would be necessary to promissing to pay on demand, gold and silver. The develope fully the question before them, to wit: A sound Government of the United States has established one of and uniform National Cuireney. Presuming, from the a similar character; and for the convenience of the comtenor of the resolution, that the uniform National Cur-munity, the public revenue is collected in gold and silrency proposed must be prepared by the National Gov: ver, the notes of the Ban! of the United United States ernment, circulated under its authority, and maintained and of such solvent State banks, as the Bank of the Unitby its credit, the committee have complied with the ined States and its branches will receive as cash. struction of the Senate, by endeavouring to devise some The currency, therefore, of the United States, in its plan, through which the agency of the Government, in relation to the Government of the United States, consuch a measure, could be safe or useful; but after giving sists of gold and silver, and of notes equivalent to gold to it all the consideration they could bestow, their re- and silver. And the inquiry which naturally presents Aections have resulted in a belief that any such measure itself, is, whether this mixed mass of currency is sound must resolve itself, at last, into a mere system of paper and uniform for all the practical purposes of the Gov. money, issued by the Government. The resort to ihe ernment, anıt the trade of the Union. That it is so, will issue of a paper money has been often the desperate appear from the following fact: expedient of the wants of a nation. It has then found its 1st. The Government receives its revenue from justification only in the necessity which created it: yetsuch 343 Custom Houses, are its inevitable evils, that every prudent Government has

42 Land Offices, the moment its pressing exigencies permitted, returned 8,004 Post Offices, to the only safe basis of a circulating medium, the pre

134 Receivers of Internal Revenue, cious metals, and the private credits attached to the use

37 Marshals, of them. Such were the expedients of the Government

33 Clerks of Courts. of the United States during its two wars, such its imme These, with other receiving officers, which need not diate abandonment of them at the return of peace. But, be specified, compose an aggregate of more than 9,0:00 in the present condition of the Treasury of the United persons, dispersed through the whole of the Union, who States, with a revenue far beyond its wanis, with a debt collect the public revenue. From these persons, the almost nominal, and hastening to its entire extinguish Government has for the ton vears preceding the 1st of ment, such a measure is not needed by the interests of January, 1830, received, $230,068,855 17. This sum the Government, nor is there the slightest indication of has been collected in every section of this widely exits being demanded by the wants of the country, of tended country. It has been disbursed at other points, such an issue of paper money, the Executive at Wash- many thousand miles distant from the places where it ington would be the natural fountain.

The agents was collected; and yet it has been so collected and disof the Executive, the natural channels. The individ- tributed, without the loss, as far as the committee can vals, corporations and states who borrowed it, must be learn of a single dollar, and without the expense of a sincome debtors to the Government; and the inevitable gle dollar to the Government. That a currency, by consequence would be, the creation of a monied engine which the Government has been thus enabled to collect

VOL. V. 31

242

NATIONAL CURRENCY.

[APRI

and transfer such an amount of revenue to pay its army paid in silver; which is throughout the Union equal to and navy, and all its expenses, and the national debt, is silver in payment to the Government and payments to unsafe and unsound, cannot readily be believed: for individuals in business; and which, whenever silver is there can be no surer test of its sufficiency, than the needed in any part of the country, will command it, simple fact that every dollar received in the form without the charge of the slightest fraction of a per of a bank note, in the remotest parts of the interior, centage. By means of this currency, funds are transis, without charge, converted into a silver dollar, at ev- mitted at an expense less than in any other country.. In ery one of the vast number of places where the services no other country can a merchant do what every citizen of the Government requires its disbursement. The Sec. of the United States can do-deposit for instance, his retary of the Treasury, in his report of the 6th Decem silver at St. Louis, or Nashville, or New Orleans, and ber, 1828, declares that, during the four years preced receive notes, which he can carry with him 1,000 or 1,ing, the receipts of the Government had amounted to 500 miles, to the Atlantic cities, and there receive for more than ninety-seven millions of dollars, and that all them an equivalent amount of silver, without any expayments on account of the public debt, whether for in- pense whatever; and in no possible event an expense terest or principal; all on account of pensions; all for beyond a quarter of one per cent. If, however, a citthe civil list; for the army; for the navy; or for whatever izen does not wish to incur the anxiety of carrying these purpose wanted, in any part of the Union, have been notes with hin, or to run the hazard of the mail, he may, punctually met.The same officer states, that "It is instead of them, receive a draft, payable to himself or the preservation of a good currency that can alone im. his agent alone, so as to ensure the receipt of an equal part stability to property, and prevent those fluctua- amount, at an expense of not } and often not of the actions in its value, hurtful alike to individuals, and to na. tual cost of carrying the silver. The owner of funds, for intional wealth. This advantage, the Bank has secured to stance, at St. Louis or Nashville, can transfer them to the community, by confining within prudent limits its Philadelphia for one-half per cent.; from New Orleans, issues of paper,” &c. &c.

generally, without any charge at all—at most, one-half 2d. If this currency is thus sound and uniform for the per cent; from Mobile, from par to one-half per cent. ; Government, it is not less so to the community.

from Savannah, at one-half per cent.; and from CharlesThe basis of all good currency should be the precious ton, at from par to one-quarter per cent. metals, gold and silver; and in a mixed currency of paper This seems to present a state of currency approaching circulating with gold or silver, and convertible into it, as near to perfection as could be desired: for here is a the great object to be attained is, that the paper should currency issued at twenty-four different parts of the U. always be equal to gold or silver; that is, it should al- nion, obtainable by any citizen who has money or credways be exchangeable for gold or silver. Such a cur it. When in his possession, it is equivalent to silver in l'ency is perfect, uniting the convenience of a portable all his dealings with all the 9,000 agents of the Governmaterial with ihe safety of a metallic medium. 'Now it ment, throughout the Union. In all his dealings with cannot be doubted, that throughout this whole country, the interior it is better than silver; in all his dealings with the circulating bank notes are equal to specic, and con- the commercial cities, equal to silver; and if, for any pur vertible into speeie. There may bes and probably are, pose, he desires the silver with which he bought it, it is exceptions; because among banks, as among men, there at his disposal, almost universally, without any diminuare some who make a show of unreal strength. But it tion, and never more than a diminution of one quarter is a fact so familiar to the experience of every citizen in per cent. It is not easy to imagine, it is scarcely necesthe community as to be undeniable, that, in all the At- sary to desire, any currency better than this. Jantic and commercial cities, and generally speaking It is not among its least advantages, that it bears a throughout the whole country, the notes of the State proper relation to the real business and exchanges of banks are equal to gold or silver. The committee do the country; being issued only to those whose credit not mean to say that there may not be too many banks, entitles them to it, increasing with the wants of the ac. or th:

insolvencies do not occasionally occur among tive operations of society, and diminishing, as these subthem; but as every bank which desires to maintain its side, into comparative inactivity while it is the radical character, must be ready to make settlements with the vice of all Government paper to be issued without re. Bank of the United States, as the agent of the Govern. gard to the business of the community, and to be gova ment, or be immediately discredited, and must therefore erned wholly by considerations of convenience to the keep its notes equal to gold or silver, there can be little Government. danger to the community, while the issues of the banks After escaping so recently from the degradation of a are restrained from running to excess, by the salutary depreciated paper currency, the committee would abcontrol of the Bank of the United States, whose own stain from every thing which might, however remotely, circulation is extremely moderate, compared with the revive it. The period is not remote when, in the Janamount of its capital. Accordingly, the fact is, that the guage of the late Secretary of the Treasury, the coungeneral credit of the bank is good, and that their paper try was oppressed by a "currency without any basis of Is always convertible irito gold or silver, and for all local coin, or other effective check, and of no value, as a mepurposes forins a local currency equivalent to gold and dium of remittance or exchange, beyond the jurisdicsilver. There is, however, superadded to this currency,a tion of the State whence it had been issued a currengeneral currency more known, more trusted,& more valu. cy that not unfrequently imposed upon the Treasury able than the local currency, which is employed in the ex. the necessity of meeeting, by extravagant premiums, change between different parts of the country. These are the mere act of transferring the revenue, collected at thenotes of the national bank. These notes are receivable one point, to defray unavoidable expense at another." for the Government, by the 9,000 receivers, scattered It is still within the recollections of the Senate, when, throughout every part of the country. They are in fact, at the seat of Government itself, specie could only be in thecourse of business,paid in gold or silver, though they are had at 20 or 22 per cent. in exchange for the bank pa. not legally, or necessarily so paid, by the branches of the per promises to pay specie; that for bank notes of Bal. bank in every section of the Union. In al commercial timore, 2 per cent. were paid; for those of Philadelphia, places they are received, in all transactions, without any 6 to 7 per cent.; for those of New York, 15 to 16 per reduction in value, and never, under any circumstances, cent.; and for those of Boston, 20 to 22 per cent.; ruindoes the paper, from the remotest branches, vary be ous inequalities, which have now happily disappeared. yond a quarter of one per cent, in its actual exchange 3d. The soundness of the currency may be further for silver. Here, then, is a currency as safe as silver; illustrated by the present condition of the foreign exmore convenient, and more valuable than silver, which, changes. through the whole western and southern, and interior Exchange on England is, at the present moment, parts of the Union, is eagerly sought in exchange for more than one per cent. ander par; that is, more than silver; which in those sections, often bear's a premium one per cent. in favor of the United States. This being

1830.)

NATIONAL CURRENCY.

243

the real fact, disguised by the common forms of quot- Dot Philadelphia paper ten per cent. worse than Boston, ing exchange on England at between 8 and 9 per cent. and that much better than Baltimore? premium.

Answer. Philadelphia paper was 17 per

ceni. worse It would lead the committee too far from its present than Boston paper-9 to 9j worse than New York paper purpose to explain that the original estimate of the A. -41 better than Baltimore. merican dollar, as being worth four shillings and six Q. 2. Were not the State Banks indebted to the Gov. pence, and that, therefore the English pound sterling is ernment in large sums, which they could not have paid worth $4 44, is wholly erroneous, and occasions a con- in sound currency? If so, to what amount? And did stant misapprehension of the real state of our intercourse not the bank in many instances assume those debts, and with Great Britain. The Spanish dollar bas not, for a pay them in good currency, (if so, to what amount?) century, been worth four and six pence; the American and indulge those banks until it was convenient for dollar never was; and whatever artificial value we may them to pay? and did not the Bank lose money by such assign to our coins, is wholly unavailing to them in the indulgence? crucibles of London or Paris. According to the latest A. In the years 1817 and 1818 the Government transaccounts from London, at the close of December last, ferred to the bank at Philadelphia

, from the State instithe Spanish dollar, instead of being worth four shillings tutions, 7,472,419 87 dollars, which was cashed, and 3,and sixpence, or 54 pence, was worth only 49} pence; 336,691 67 dollars of special deposite, to be collected the American dollar at least one-fourth per cent. less; by the bank, making 10,809,111'54. dollars. The loss so that to produce one hundred times fuur and sixpence, sustained by the bank, I cannot estimate. I should it would be necessary to send to England, not 100 dol- willingly compromise for a loss of only 200,000 dollars. lars, but 109 1-16 Spanish dollars, or 109% of the Uni Q. 3. Has the bank at any time oppressed any of the ted States' dollars. if to this be added the expenses State banks? and charges of sending the money and converting it in A. Never. There are very few banks which might to English gold, it will cost 111; so that 111 is at this not have been destroyed by an exertion of the power moment, the real par of exchange between the United of the bank. None have ever been injured. Many States and England. If, therefore, a bill at sight can be have been saved. And more have been, and are conprocured for less than this sum, or a bill at sixty days stantly relieved, when it is found that they are solvent, for one per cent. less, say 110 per cent. it is cheaper but are suffering under temporary difficulty. than sending silver; that is to say, he who bas silver to Q. 4. When a Stale bank becomes indebted to the send to England can purchase a bill on London for a bank to an improper extent, what course do you pur. greater amount than he would get if he shipped the sil. sue? Do you let ihem go beyond a certain amount, and ver itself, and of course exchange would be in favor of what is that amount? the United States against England. Now, such bills can A. The great object is to keep the State banks withbe bought at a less rate, by more than one per cent. in in proper limits; to make them shape their business acevery city in the United States.

cording to their means. For this purpose they are calThis fact is conclusive as to the state of the currency. led upon to settle; never forced to pay specie if it can If the bank notes of the country were not equal to spe- be avoided, but payment is taken in their bills of excie, specie would be at a premium, which it no where change, or suffered to lie occasionally until the bank can is at present. If the currency were unsound, more must turn round; no amount of debt is fixed, because the be paid of that currency in order to produce an equal principle we wish to establish is, that every bank should notes do not circulate. But if, as is the case at present, 2. 5. If you give drafts on any of the branches, or the bank notes are convertible into specie, if you can from one branch on another, or on the mother bank, buy with bank notes as much as you can buy with sil. what is the commission charged? ver, and if, in the transactions of the country abroad, the

A. The charge for drafts is less than the transportamerchants, who, if the notes were not equal to coin would go to the bank and ship the coin, can pay as

of specie. I send a detailed statement on this point. much debt in foreign countries with the notes as by Q. 6. Do you, and at every branch, pay specie on sending the coin; there seems nothing wanting to com- demand? Has there ever been a refusal? plete the evidence of the soundness and uniformity of

A. Never. the currency.

Q. 7. Can you state whether specie is more or less On the whole, the committee are of opinion that the abundant in the United States at present, than at any present state of the currency is safe for the community, former period? and eminently useful to the Government; that for some

A. At the present moment, I think, specie is more

It comes in as usual. And the years past, it has been improving by the infusion into abundant than usual. the circulating medium of a larger portion of coin, and state of the exchanges with Europe is such that it is the substitution of the paper of more solvent banks in lieu cheaper to buy bills, than to ship coin. The bank bad, of those of inferior credit; and that, if left to the pro

on the first instant, 7,608,000 dollars, which is more gress of existing laws and institutions, the partial in than it has had for nine years past. conveniences, which still remain, of the paper currency Q. 8. When the debt is annually paid off to foreignof the last war, will be wholly and insensibly remedied. ers,do they remit in specie or bills of exchange? Do you Under these circumstances, they deem it prudent to supply the means in either way? abstain from all legislation; to abide by the practical A. When foreigners are paid off, a part is re-investa good which the country enjoys, and to put nothing to ed in other stocks, a part goes in bills, a considerable hazard by doubtful experiments.

portion of which are bills of the bank. Specie is never The committee submit, - for the information of the resorted to unless the bill market is so bigb as to make Senate, certain questions propounded to the President that mode of remittance cheaper. of the Bank of the United States, together with his an Q. 9. Since you commenced the purchase and sale swers thereto, and a document furnished by that officer, of bills of exchange, has the rate varied; if so, to what showing the rates of exchange at which drafts are drawn extent? by the Bank of the United States ard its offices of dis A. The operations of the bank in exchar has had count and deposite; and ask to be discharged from the the effect of preventing the great fluctuations to which further consideration of the subject.

they were previously liable,

They 10. What is the reason that exchange on England Questions submitted to the President of the Bank of the continues above what was formerly considered the par, United States, with his Answers.

that is, the dollar valued at 4s. 6 pence sterling 1. Question 1. When the Bank went into operation, was it that the intrinsic value of the dollar has been found

244

NATIONAL CURRENCY.

(APRIL

To be less than 4s. 6d.? If so, what is that intrinsic | 4. 6d. when it never has been worth four and sixpence, value?

and of course when it goes abroad, it is estimated not by A. The reason is, that we choose to call our dollar the name we give it, but according to its real value.

RATES OF EXCHANGE Al which Drafts are drawn by the Bank of the United States and its Offices of Discount and Deposite.

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Pittsburg, Buffalo..

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BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. Bills discounted on perReport or the Secretary of the Treasury on the Uni sonal security;

31,126,407 30 ted States Bank, made to Congress on the 28th of De- | Funded debt,

251,128 88 cember, 1829.

Bank stock,

1,120,964 90 General Statement.

Domestic bills of exchange,7,718,029 03 Funded debt United States, various, $11,635,290 90

- 40,216,530 11

1830.]

BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.

245

Foreign bills of exchange,
259,058 12 Navy Agent Norfolk,

40,144 17 Real Estate,

2,727,046 18 Baring, Brothers & Co. Hope & Co. and

Total,

$100,663,367 54 Hottinguer & Co.

968,378 75 Due from Bank U. States

Capital stock,

$34,996,269 63 and Offices, 16,281,689 09 Notes issued,

27,537,798 76 Due from State Banks, 2,149,942 68

Discount, exchange and interest, 1,371,214 11 18,431,631 77 Foreign exchange,

13,725 98 Due from United States, 5,267 32 Dividends unclaimed,

80,579 85 Due from J. A. Buchanan and J. W. Mc

Profit and loss,

1,497,350 36 Culloch, 612,760 44 Contingent fund,

4,974,557 91 Losses chargeable to the conting't fund, 2,551,693 83 Due to Bank United States and offices, 14,917,012 52 Deficiencies, 135,288 02 Due to State Banks,

1,179,577 24 Banking houses, bonus, premium, &c. 1,444,401 89 Redemption of public debt,

517,820 50 Expenses,

199,499 29 Deposites of Treasurer of United States, 6,743,665 25 Cash, notes of Bank U.S.

Deduct oyer drafts and special deposites, 280,851 99 and offices, 12,589,672 80 Deposites of public officers,

801,029 79 Do. do. State Banks, 1,405,817 30

Deposites of individuals,

6,260,618 63 Specie,

7,251,782 78
21,247,272 88

$100,663,367 54 Mortgages, &c.

189,103 87 STATEMENT OF THE BANK OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS OFFICES OF DISCOUNT

AND DEPOSIT AT THE DATES MENTIONED.

Due to Bank of United Deposites of Treasurer Deposites of Indi1829. Banks. States and offices, of the United States.

viduals.

Total,

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YORK AND MARYLAND LINE RAIL ROAD. I expense, are also bound, have repeatedly and respect

fully made application to the Legislature of the state PUBLIC MEETING AT YORK.

for an act of incorporation for a rail road from York to At a meeting of the citizens of the Borough and the Maryland line in order that they might possess the County of York, convened at the court-house, on Satur- same facilities as to market, and enjoy equal advantages day the 27th of March: CHARLES A. BARNITZ, Esq. was withother citizenswhose locality enables them to use the called to the Chair, and George S. Morris, and John state works. These applications have, by some of the Evans, Esq. appointed Secretaries,

members of former Legislatures, been looked upon with The chairman having stated that this meeting was an unpropitious eye, as being calculated to injure the rendered necessary by a similar one held in Pbiladel trade of the state. The citizens of these counties, how. phia, (the proceedings of which were read.] Mr. Ham- ever, with great satisfaction and gratitude have seen, Bly then presented the following preamble and resolu: that the present Legislature regard their claims, as tions, which were read and unanimously adopted. founded in justice and equity; and so far from being

Whereas, the citizens of the counties of York, Ad. calculated to depress or injure the general welfare, will ams, Franklin and Cumberland, being so situated, as to unquestionably increase our prosperity, unanimity anul be entirely shut out from any participation in the bene- happiness. So far from being originated by selfish mofits of the state improvements, which are being con- tives, or an alienation of regard from any portion of the structed at so great an expense to which they have in state, they have considered them, as founded on our common with their other fellow-citizens cheerfully cun. equal rights and sincere wishes for the general prostributed, and for the payment of the yet to be incurred perity.

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