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stitution. The incorporation of the provision in the Constitution which reserves the appointment of the mayor by the Common Council, shows that the people distrust the purity and virtue of the legislature. It is, I believe, a broad and living principle of democracy, that the tendency of delegated power is always to its own aggrandizement, and that the safety of the rights of the people is secured by their jealousy of encroachment. So much distrust of the legislature as the Constitution expresses, and so much as is founded in the maxims of our government, and no more, I entertain.
What was the evil which called into existence the convention which framed your Constitution? Other grounds of objection there were indeed to your old Constitution, but the crying evil was the corruption and abuses of the council of appointment, subjected to the exercise of a mighty and controlling central power at Albany. What was the great reform made by that convention? Other reforms there were, but that which was the most valuable was the abolition of the council of appointment, and the distribution among different depositories more immediately derived from and subjected to the popular will, and of the appointing power of the state. Will not the people regard this as an attempt to bring back to the central power this portion of the appointing power? Will they not regard it as a precursor of other attempts to restore that state of things which it demanded the convention of 1821 to overthrow? Yes, sir, they will so regard it, and I think I may say for that portion of them which are my constituents, that any proposition tending to increase at the expense of popular rights and privileges, the power of the legislature or executive, will be met and resisted as an encroachment.
For these reasons, I am opposed to that portion of the amendment which provides for subjecting to legislative action the mode of the appointment of the mayor of the city of New York. I am in favor of giving the election to the people, and of extending the same right of election to all the cities in the state, and I shall avail myself of a distinct motion to amend for that purpose.
REMOVAL OF THE DEPOSITS.
JANUARY 10, 1834.
NOTE. The question was upon the joint resolutions from the Assembly, which were as follows:
"Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That the removal of the public deposits from the Bank of the United States, is a measure of the administration of which we highly approve.
"Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That the senators from this state be directed, and the representatives from this state be requested, to oppose any attempt to restore the deposits to the Bank of the United States.
Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That we approve of the communication made by the President of the United States to his Cabinet on the eighteenth of September last, and of the reasons given by the Secretary of the Treasury relative to the removal of the deposits.
Resolved, (if the Assembly concur,) That the conduct of the Bank, in attempting, at a time of general prosperity, to produce pecuniary distress and alarm, and in exercising its power with a view to extort a renewal of its charter from the fears of the people, affords of itself full justification for the withdrawal of the confidence of the government. "Resolved, (if the Senate concur,) That the charter of the Bank of the United States ought not to be renewed."
Ir needs no soothsayer's aid, Mr. President, to foresee that these resolutions will pass; that they will pass with a majority so great, that I may appear presumptuous in having raised my feeble voice against them. Nevertheless, there is in this legislature, as, according to the genius of our government, there always should be, a minority; and that minority, although small in number, represents, on this occasion, little less than one-half of the people of this state. The universal language of that part of the press which speaks their sentiments, and the inquiries and fears everywhere heard, indicate that the measures which this legislature are called upon to approve, are regarded by that portion of the people of this state with fearful apprehensions, and a painful conviction that, in the adoption of those measures, the Constitution has been violated. I pray the Senate to remember that, although here these resolutions have so many supporters, willing to adopt them without debate, neither
boldness of assumption, nor superiority of numbers, is always the test of truth; and that the rivets of despotism will have entered the heart of the country, when such apprehensions and convictions, widely prevalent among the people, shall cease to call forth, in the public councils, a voice in their behalf. I participate in those apprehensions and convictions; and thus participating, should deem myself recreant to my trust, were I to suffer these resolutions to pass in silence. For the minority here, and for all that minority in the state, then, I speak. I wish they had an abler and more eloquent advocate, but I am sure they could not have one more firm or more sincere.
These resolutions are unnecessary. The subject to which they relate is already under discussion in both houses of Congress. A majority of those whom you propose to instruct, will vote as you desire without instruction. A minority will not vote so, although requested, and the numbers of both are determined. Does any senator ask how I know the sentiments of the representatives of this state in Congress? I will answer, and if any member startle at my answer, it will be not because the information is new, but because it is proclaimed here. The majority of the representatives will vote as I have predicted, because of convictions produced by the same mysterious intuition which has so suddenly enlightened this legislature. If they have ever had doubts on this matter, they have all been dispelled by the same agency, which is sufficiently efficacious to carry these resolutions as triumphantly through this Senate, as it carried them through the House of Assembly; where, although the resolutions relate to a subject foreign from the affairs of the state, they were passed by a vote of 118 to 9 in the first week of the session, without argument, and without even the ceremony of printing the documents which the resolutions approve. Be satisfied, then, that the minds of the majority of our representatives in Congress will be as effectually illuminated as your own, and that their reluctant wills will yield to the behest of the same power which decrees your own action. The minority will vote as I have stated, because they will examine and discuss the question, and will arrive at their conclusion, with the aid only of truth and reason. Their wills cannot be subdued by that mysterious power to which I have alluded. I say not too much for them, when I assert they will spurn your insidious request, as much as they would defy your arbitrary instructions.
Sir, I will not say that these resolutions have such a purpose, but I may and will say that resolutions of this nature are often, if not always, the machinery of demagogues, who seek by the use of them to accomplish objects which they could not accomplish by the constitutional and proper action of legislative bodies. In such cases, the affectation of a desire to instruct is a veil too thin to conceal the object of the measure. It is in this light such resolutions are regarded abroad by those states whose interests are adverse to the interests of those who adopt them. They excite suspicion, jealousy, and prejudice; and hence other states will endeavor to counteract their effect by adverse resolutions. Such is their natural and inevitable tendency, as it regards our sister states. And what can you expect in Congress as the legitimate effects of such resolutions, even though sincere and for laudable purposes, but blind, vindictive controversy, scarcely veiled by the forms and proprieties of debate? Every state has the same constitutional right, and may as properly exercise the power of instruction. Suppose all to exercise it, where would be the freedom, and what the value of debate? Suppose a part only to exercise it, what would be the security of those who should neglect to avail themselves of it, against partial and corrupt legislation? And for measures in Congress carried by the force of such machinery, what can you expect from those states against whose interests and principles they militate, but combinations, resistance, nullification and secession? It was by passionate, violent resolutions of this kind, that, during the late war, the Eastern states were brought into a posture of disobedience to the general government; and those who are curious enough to examine will find that the states of Georgia and South Carolina commenced by resolutions not unlike these, that career of disorganization which so lately seemed to threaten the immediate dissolution of the Union.
But I will not appeal to the attachment of this House to the Union. The fashion of the day has changed here within the last year, and state pride is now the passion to be called into action! We would have what is called our proper influence in the national government. We would acquire the power in the administration of the government, to which our greater strength and numbers, and our long deference to other states, entitle us. If we win either, sir, it must be by patriotism, not force; by generous bearing, not selfish assumption. Could we win both by inglorious
means, we should obtain but "a fruitless crown." The power thus acquired would be
"A barren sceptre in our gripe,
Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,
No son of ours succeeding."
I shall discuss these resolutions in my own order. The fourth resolution is, "that the Bank of the United States ought not to be renewed." Whatever may be the propriety of acting upon the others, I can discover no necessity for passing this resolution. Two years ago, a similar resolution was adopted by this legislature but that was accompanied by a preamble stating that the bank had applied to Congress for a renewal of its charter. The preamble, though an insufficient reason for the conclusion that the charter ought not to be renewed, was a colorable pretext for considering the subject. But that reason does not exist now. No such question is before Congress. If it can be required of us to legislate for the advice of Congress, I trust it is enough to legislate upon subjects on which they are called to act. This resolution, then, is confessedly unnecessary for any legitimate purpose. It is unjust to the Bank of the United States, and therefore it is derogatory from the dignity and character of the state. If it be not designed to influence Congress, it must be required for effect at home or abroad. It cannot be for effect abroad. The voice of the state on this subject has been spoken and repeated; this reiteration can only serve to cause both our sincerity and firmness to be questioned. And for what effect at home? I can conceive of none but that the resolution may serve as a party shibboleth to members on entering the legislature. Two years since, I advocated here the necessity, in regard to the proper action of the general government, and the commercial interests of the country, of a Bank of the United States. On that subject my opinions have undergone no change, and as the question was then elaborately discussed, I trust I may expect from any member of the legislature who, on that occasion, stood by my side, but has now fallen off, the reasons which have wrought the change in his opinions.
An unscrupulous press denounces all as interested who refuse to join in the crusade against the Bank of the United States. It may therefore be prudent for one so humble as myself to guard against misrepresentation. I have never had any connection with the United States Bank, or with any of its branches. On me it