Moses Dawson, William Burke, and Robert Punshon to MVB, 13 December 1837
Moses Dawson, William Burke, and Rob[er]t Pushon to [MVB], 13 December 1837
13th. Decr. 1837
The undersigned citizens of Cincinnati and part of the great democratic family of the United States take the liberty of congratulating you upon the noble stand you have taken as well during the extra session of Congress as in your inestimable ^message^ to the present regular session delivered to that body on the 5th. instant.
At the present Crisis when there is an apparent defection in the ranks of democracy it becomes a duty which all honest men owe to you to themselves and to the country to come promptly forward to sustain you in the position you have taken and to express their approbation of your patriotic conduct and of those wise and wholesome measures which you have proposed to Congress which they are well convinced are calculated to promote the true interest and signal benefit of the nation at large. And though with you the undersigned are willing to render all due respect to the public voice they believe that the elections which have occurred subsequent to the publication of your message to the extra session of Congress turned upon local circumstances connected with the Banking system in the states, rather than with relation to any of the measures of the general government, and that the apparent falling off in the republican ranks is to be attributed to those local circumstances as well as to the failure of many thousands to go to the polls not having a national question of sufficient magnitude to interest them in the election—and under this impression the undersigned ^have^ full Confidence that when a great national shall have been submitted to them ^the democracy^ will take their usual stand and with their accustomed success.
Recent circumstances have proved to the undersigned that the establishment of a national treasury, such as you have projected, is not only necessary for the proper management of the fiscal affairs of the nation, but is absolutely, essential to the safety of the Republic and to the preservation of the Republican institutions. What, they ask, would have been the consequence had the country been at war with a foreign and powerful nation for the last six months with so many millions of the public treasure in the coffers of Bankrupt Banks, or scattered over the country in the hands of their perhaps insolvent debtors—the public funds deposited in Banks the directors of which are almost intirely composed of men who are hostile to the very principles of democracy, and many of whom have upon former occasions shewn their willingness to throw themselves into the arms of a foreign enemy in the hope of destroying a government founded and conducted on principles which they disapprove. What could have been expected under such circumstances but that the country would have been sacrificed to a foreign power or that the government would have been coerced into a dishonourable and disadvantageous treaty of peace
We have had sufficient testimony ^that^ some men who stand high in the community have lost sight of the interest and the honour of their country when their own profit or aggrandizement could be promoted at its expense. We have it publicly declared that the first duty of americans is to pay debts due to foreign countries ^in preference^ of those due to their fellow citizens—and we have found that while the claims of the government were resisted by its debtors the specie which was its due was exported to liquidate debts due to foreign nations—and, to add insult to injury, the Bankruptcy of the government was exultingly proclaimed by its refractory debtors. What confidence can be reposed in such men when at any time their own interest may stand in competition with the duty they owe their country? Are the institutions of which such men are the directors and managers fit repositories of the national Revenue, men who would not hesitate to prefer a foreign Creditor perhaps a public enemy to their own government and their own fellow citizens? We the undersigned most emphatically answer no. And we hail with joy the prospect that the public treasure will be placed out of the reach of such faithless and unprincipled agents by placing it in the hands of those who will be made responsible for its safe keeping and its faithful repayment when required for the public uses of the nation—and under the immediate control of its Constitutional guardians.
The undersigned are well assured that the laws can be made to direct and control individuals as fiscal agents with infinitely greater effect than they could be made to operate upon Corporations without souls and as recent events have proved them to be, without common honesty—and they are as well convinced that with a treasury instituted as you have projected the nation could never suffer such embarrassment as has been produced by the deposit Banks national or local from time to time
The undersigned are also of opinion that the conduct sustained by the opposition is not actually what it appears to be but a covert attempt to obtain the establishment of a national Bank. The question at issue is really a national Bank or a national treasury. We therefore most earnestly deprecate the former, and have full confidence that through your wisdom and patriotism and those of Congress the nation will be relieved from all difficulties on this momentous subject by the establishment of a national treasury upon truly constitutional principles and with perfect safety to the national revenue. They also take this opportunity to assure you of their firm belief that on this great question you have ^with you^ a large majority of the american people which majority cannot be diminished by the faithless conduct of the Bank Convention at New york lately convened
With great respect and esteem we are sir
your obedt. servants
William Burke P. M.