Silas Wright Jr. to MVB, 28 August 1833
28th August 1833
My Dear Sir,
I went to Albany on the evening of wednesday after I saw you and remained there until the forenoon of the Saturday after. In the course of my stay I took especial pains to talk with the friends I had previously seen upon the subject of the deposits, and the following is the result of their opinions delivered to me by each individually and with as full a Knowledge as I possessed myself of the importance of the question and of the object I had in being authorized to say what their opinions were.
The Attorney General entertains the impression, under all the circumstances, that the wisest course will be not to make any movement in relation to the deposits until after the close of the next session of Congress, but, in case any thing is to be done, he is clearly of the opinion that it should be done before the meeting of Congress in December next, rather than postponed for any proposed action within the period of the session. The Secretary of State seems to entertain strongly the opinion that, notwithstanding all the difficulties apprehended, the deposits should be changed and that the change should be completed before the next meeting of Congress.
The Comptroller and the Register in Chancery concur in opinion with the Secretary of State and with equal confidence in the rectitude and safety of their conclusion.
Mr. Croswell I did not converse with upon the subject after I last wrote to you, and as he has been with you since that time I have no doubt you are in possession of his final opinions.
Col. Benton, who was with us at the preliminary, conversation which I detailed to you in my last, I have not seen since and therefore am wholly ignorant of his opinion.
These, I think, are all the persons with whom I conversed. The Governor had not returned to Albany when I left. I reached this place last evening and hasten to communicate with you as I promised, presuming that you will be at Oswego about the time that this letter can reach there by the mails.
I have given this subject much of my mind since I saw you, and I confess that my inclinations have been constantly gaining strength against the opinions of those friends whose opinions I have given to you, and in whose opinions, as you know, I have been in the habit of entertaining the utmost confidence. That confidence in the general judgement of the men as sound and honest politicians is by no means impaired by the difference existing between us upon this question, but on the contrary that difference only leads me the more strongly to distrust the correctness of my own impressions. Still I am unable to believe that a change before the meeting of Congress would be preferable to a communication of the whole subject in the next message and a simultaneous appointment by the head of the Treasury department of the 1st day of January next as the day on which the deposits will be changed. Indeed it is strongly impressed upon my mind that the latter will be a course far preferable to the former in any aspect in which I can view the subject. I have not time, nor is there space in a letter, to go into my reasons and views for this conclusion, and will therefore only say, 1st That the subject will in that way be broken to the public in a document which comparatively all will read and understand, coming from a source in which a vast majority of the whole People have high confidence, and in reference to which the misrepresentations of the opposition press will be likely to produce less deception than in reference to any other public document. 2nd That in this way any apparent conflict between the notion of the Executive and the hasty and ill advised expression of the last House of Representatives will be obviated. 3d. That this will give time for Congress, if they choose to act definitively and finally upon the removal of the charter of the bank and thus virtually to determine whether or not the deposites should in fact be changed, as I assume that no man will contend that the time will not then have arrived to make preparations for the winding up of the present bank in case its charter is not to be renewed. There are a great variety of other considerations, operating with these, to bring my mind to the conclusion I have expressed but I forbear to mention them here and they will almost necessarily suggest themselves to you without being mentioned.
In answer, however, to my own suggestions, I feel bound to say that my conversations with the friends I have named satisfied me that some of them, and particularly the Comptroller, had made more inquires and given more thought in relation to this subject than I had done, and many of his suggestions of a purely financial character I was illy able to answer. He urged with most <illegible> the peculiar situation in which those state Banks would be placed with which it should be determined to place the deposits should the U.S. Bank be permitted to retain and continue to receive the moneys of the Government for one month after those Banks, should be designated. This and all the other considerations will be fully weighed by yourself as well as by the executive and his cabinet before any action takes place, and I can only say that while I retain my preference for the delayed action I am fully sensible that it is not without its difficulties.
I need not say to you that there is no difference between myself and the persons I have named as to the dangerous character, corrupt practices and evil influences of the Bank of the United States or of any other equally powerful and irresponsible moneyed monopoly, and consequently that while all of us fully concede the intrinsic justice, so far as the bank is concerned, of the change of the deposits at any moment, we have discussed this question as one of policy merely as to the time and manner and not as one of justice or principle as to the change itself.
I did, when I saw Mr. Croswell, partially conclude to take Oswego in my route home and to meet you there, but as I was not certain when you would be there and as I found that course would protract the time of my absence much beyond my original design I abandoned it, and not finding leisure to communicate to you while absent, I improve the first hour after my return to fulfil my promise. It will give me great pleasure to hear from you on this or any other subject.
I am most respectfully
& truly your obdt. Servt.
Silas Wright Jr.