Thirty-Fifth Congress of the United States.
First Session, December 7th, 1857, June 14th, 1858.
James Buchanan, President of the United States
James L. Orr, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Issue of Treasury Notes.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Has the morning hour expired ?
The SPEAKER. It has.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Speaker, a bill of great importance was reported from the Committee of Ways and Means this morning, and referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union. It is known to all of us that the Treasury is almost on the verge of bankruptcy, and it is of the utmost consequence that that bill should be taken up and considered at as early a period as possible. I therefore move that the rules be suspended, and that the House resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.
Mr. Grow. I hope the gentleman will yield until I present a resolution of inquiry.
Mr. CAMPBELL. The gentleman can present his resolution when we come out of committee.
The question was taken, and the motion was agreed to.
The House accordingly resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, (Mr. Phelps in the chair.)
The CHAIRMAN stated that the first business in order before the committee was the consideration of the annual message of the President of the United States.
Mr. CLINGMAN. I move to postpone the consideration of the message, in order that we may reach the bill to authorize the issue of Treasury notes.
The motion was agreed to.
Mr. HOUSTON. Has the bill referred to by the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Campbell] been printed ?
The CHAIRMAN. The bill was reported this morning from the Committee of Ways and Means, and has not been printed. A bill, of which it is substantially a copy, has, however, been reported in the other branch of Congress, and has been printed.
Mr. Houston. I am very anxious that we should act speedily upon this bill.
Mr. CAMPBELL. I move to dispense with the first reading of the bill, so that it may be read by clauses.
The CHAIRMAN. The bill is not yet before the committee. Certain appropriation bills precede it upon the Calendar.
Mr. CAMPBELL. I move to postpone the consideration of all bills which precede the one to authorize the issue of Treasury notes.
The motion was agreed to; and the committee proceeded to the consideration of the bill to authorize the issue of Treasury notes.
The bill was read in extenso; and is as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States is hereby authorized to cause treasury notes for such sum or sums as the exigencies of the public service may require, but not to exceed, at any time, the amount of twenty millions of dollars, and of denominations not less than fifty dollars for any such note, to be prepared, signed, and issued in the manner hereinafter provided.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That such treasury notes shall be paid and redeemed by the United States at the treasury thereof after the expiration of one year from the dates of said notes, from which dates, until they shall be respectively paid and redeemed, they shall bear such rate of interest as shall be expressed in said notes, which rate of interest upon the first issue, which shall not exceed six millions of dollars, of such notes shall be fixed by the Secretary of the Treasury, with the approbation of the President, but shall in no case exceed the rate of six per centum per annum. The residue shall be raised, in whole or in part, after public advertisement of not less than thirty days, as the Secretary of the Treasury may direct, by exchanging them at their par value for specie to the bidder or bidders who shall agree to make such exchange at the lowest rate of interest, not exceeding six per centum, upon the said notes: Provided, That after the maturity of any of said notes, interest thereon shall cease at the expiration of sixty days' notice of readiness to pay and redeem the same, which may at any time or times be given by the Secretary of the Treasury in one or more newspapers published at the seat of government. The payment or redemption of said notes herein provided shall be made to the lawful holders thereof, respectively, upon presentment at the treasury, and shall include the principal of each note and the interest which shall be due thereon. And for such payment and redemption, at the time or times herein specified, the faith of the United States is hereby solemnly pledged.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That such treasury notes shall he prepared under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, and shall be signed in behalf of the United States by the Treasurer thereof, and countersigned by the Register of the Treasury. Each of these officers shall keep in a book or books provided for that purpose separate, full, and accurate accounts, showing the number, date, amount, and rate of interest of each treasury note signed and countersigned by them, respectively; and also, similar accounts showing all such notes as may be paid, redeemed, and cancelled as the same may be returned, all which accounts shall be carefully preserved in the Treasury Department. And the Treasurer shall account quarterly for all such treasury notes as shall have been countersigned by the Register and delivered to the Treasurer for issue.
Sec 4. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized, with the approbation of the President, to cause such portion of said treasury notes as may be deemed expedient to be issued by the Treasurer in payment of warrants in favor of public creditors, or other persons lawfully entitled to such payment, who may choose to receive such notes in payment at par. And the Secretary of the Treasury is further authorized, with the approbation of the President, to borrow, from time to time, such sums of money upon the credit of such notes as the President may deem expedient: Provided, That no treasury notes shall be pledged, hypothecated, sold, or disposed of in any way, for any purpose whatever, either directly or indirectly, for any sum less than the amount of such notes, including the principal and interest thereof.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That said treasury notes shall be transferable, by assignment endorsed thereon by the permit to whose order the same shall be made payable, accompanied together with the delivery of the notes so assigned.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That said treasury notes shall be received by the proper officers in payment of all duties and taxes laid by the authority of the United States, of all public lands sold by said authority, and of all debts to the United States of any character whatever, which may be due and payable at the time when said treasury notes may be offered in payment thereof; and upon every such payment credit shall be given for the amount of principal and interest due on the note or notes received in payment on the day when the same shall have been received by such officer.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That every collector of the customs, receiver of public moneys, or other officer or agent of the United States who shall receive any treasury note or notes in payment on account of the United States, shall take from the holder of such note or notes a receipt, upon the back of each, stating distinctly the date of such payment and the amount allowed upon such note; and every such officer or agent shall keep regular and specific entries of all treasury notes received in payment, showing the person from whom received, the number, date, and amount of principal and interest allowed on each and every treasury note received in payment; which entries shall be delivered to the treasury with the treasury note or notes mentioned therein, and, if found correct, such officer or agent shall receive credit for the amount, as provided in the last section of this act.
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he hereby is, authorized to make and issue, from time to time, such instructions, rules, and regulations to the several collectors, receivers, depositaries, and all others who may be required to receive such treasury notes in behalf of, and as agents in any capacity for, the United States, as to the custody, disposal, cancelling, and return of any such notes as may be paid to and received by them, respectively, and as to the accounts and returns to be made to the Treasury Department of such receipts as he shall deem best calculated to promote the public convenience and security, and to protect the United States as well as individuals from fraud and loss.
Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he hereby is, authorized and directed to cause to be paid the principal and interest of such treasury notes as may be issued under this act at the time and times when, according to its provisions, the same should be paid. And the said Secretary is further authorized to purchase said notes at par for the amount of principal and interest due at the time of the purchase on such notes. And so much of any unappropriated money in the treasury as may be necessary for the purpose is hereby appropriated to the payment of the principal and interest of said notes.
Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That in place of such treasury notes as may have been paid and redeemed, other treasury notes to the same amount may be issued: Provided, That the aggregate sum outstanding, under the authority of this act, shall at no time exceed twenty millions of dollars.
Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That to defray the expenses of engraving, printing, preparing, and issuing the treasury notes herein authorized, the sum of twenty thousand dollars is hereby appropriated, to be paid out of any unappropriated money in the treasury: Provided, That no compensation shall be made to any officer whose salary is fixed by law for preparing, signing, or issuing treasury notes.
Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall falsely make, forge, or counterfeit, or cause or procure to be falsely made, forged, or counterfeited, or willingly aid or assist in falsely making, forging, or counterfeiting, any note in imitation of, or purporting to be, a treasury note, issued as aforesaid, or shall pass, utter, or publish, or attempt to pass, utter, or publish as true any false, forged, or counterfeited note, purporting to be a treasury note as aforesaid, knowing the same to be falsely forged or counterfeited, or shell pass, utter, or publish as true any falsely altered treasury note, issued as aforesaid, knowing the same to be falsely altered, every such person shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of felony; and being thereof convicted by due course of law, shall be sentenced to be imprisoned and kept at hard labor for a period not less than three years, nor more than ten years, and to be fined in a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars.
Sec. 13. And be et further enacted, That if any person shall make or engrave, or cause or procure to be made or engraved, or shall have in his custody and possession any metallic plate engraved after the similitude of any plate from which any notes issued as aforesaid shall have been printed, with intent to use such plate, or cause or suffer the same to be used in forging or counterfeiting any of the notes issued as aforesaid, or shall have in his custody or possession any blank note or notes engraved and printed after the similitude of any notes issued as aforesaid, with intent to use such blanks, or cause or suffer the same to be used in forging or counterfeiting any of the notes issued as aforesaid, or shall have in his custody or possession any paper adapted to the making of such notes, and similar to the paper upon which any such notes shall have been issued, with intent to use such paper, or cause or suffer the same to be used, in forging or counterfeiting any of the notes issued as aforesaid, every such person, being thereof convicted by due course of law, shall be sentenced to be imprisoned and kept to hard labor for a term not less than three nor more than ten years, and fined in a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars.
Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to cause a statement to be published monthly of the amount of treasury notes issued, and paid and redeemed, under the provisions of this act, showing the balance outstanding each month.
The CHAIRMAN. The bill having been read in extenso, it will now be read by sections.
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. I did not intend to press this bill to-day in the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union (and it was not on my motion that the House went into committee) in consequence of the bill not having been printed; but if it be the pleasure of the committee, I will go on with the bill and make my explanation now.
Mr. Banks. The gentleman from Pennsylvania will allow me to say that, inasmuch as the bill is not printed, I hope its consideration will not be pressed at this time. The House does not understand its provisions.
Mr. Houston. I desire to ask a question of the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means. True, the bill has not been printed, and it is an unusual course to ask the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union to vote on a bill involving important considerations before it has been put in a condition for the members of the committee to examine it. But, from the reading of the bill, I am myself satisfied that it conforms, in all its substantial parts, to the bills of like character that have heretofore been passed and executed. In that view of the case, and in view of the great exigency of the public service, we may possibly obviate the difficulties ordinarily arising in case of bills not being printed, and act upon it at once. I paid particular attention to the reading of the bill; and I desire to know of the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means whether I am not correct in saying that this bill conforms in every important and essential particular to the Treasury note bills that have been heretofore passed by Congress, and under which notes have been heretofore issued ?
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. The exigencies of the Government require as prompt and speedy action on this bill as is practicable. The bill was not placed in my hands till this morning, when it was brought before the Committee of Ways and Means. I was instructed to report the bill, and did this morning report it. But inasmuch as it was not printed, and could not possibly be printed in time, I did not intend to ask the House to go into Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union with a view to take up this or any appropriation bill that was not printed so that members could refer to it, I am as anxious for as much expedition as possible. But still, I would be unwilling to ask to have this bill taken up now unless the members have, in some way or other, informed themselves sufficiently as to its merits to allow me to proceed without any objection on the ground of its not being printed and ready for their use. It was not on my motion, therefore, that the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union; and it is proper that I should give this explanation.
In answer to the gentleman from Alabama, [Mr. Houston,] I would say that the bill is very simple in its provisions, and is quite in conformity with, and very similar to, all the bills of the same character that have been heretofore passed; but still, I will not press it upon the committee unless members are, with a great degree of unanimity, prepared for it. I intend to ask for the privilege of bringing it forward on Monday, by which time it will be printed.
Mr. CAMPBELL. I had understood from the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, as well as from other sources, that the Government desired to have this measure acted upon speedily. It was intimated by the honorable chairman that on Monday next he would make an effort to suspend the rules in order to put this measure upon its passage; and in that view of the matter, I ventured to move that the House should resolve itself into the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, believing, notwithstanding the bill had not been printed, that its general merits might be discussed; that, in the mean time, the bill might be printed, and that thus the proposition which the chairman intimated he would make on Monday might be facilitated by some discussion; for I apprehend that this House is not yet fully prepared to vote on so important a measure as that of issuing $20,000,000 of Treasury notes, without some discussion. I beg to make my apology to the honorable chairman if I have committed an error in submitting my motion. If he is not prepared, on this occasion, to defend the merits of the bill, if he is not prepared to explain to the committee its provisions, I will, with very great pleasure, move that the committee rise.
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. I want to say to the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Campbell] that the very last inference he should draw from my remarks, is that I am not as well prepared now as I shall be at any time to explain and defend the provisions of this bill. He certainly labors under a misapprehension as to the intention of my remarks.
Mr. CAMPBELL. I beg the gentleman's pardon. I meant to insinuate nothing of the kind.
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. I hardly consider my culleague upon the committee under any necessity of making an apology, because I did not regard his action in any other light than that of kindness upon his part; but I felt it my duty to state to the committee that, while the exigencies of the Government required expedition, I did not wish the committee to suppose that I would precipitate a measure of such importance as issuing $20,000,000 of Treasury notes, without giving them an opportunity to read the bill. If it is the pleasure of the committee, however, with a tolerable degree of unanimity, to proceed with the consideration and discussion of the bill now, I am ready to do so.
Mr. BANKS. [Massachusetts, (R)] I have no doubt at all that the gentleman from Pennsylvania is ready to proceed now. He has had a better opportunity of examining its provisions, and of satisfying himself of their correctness, than the rest of us. But, sir, this is an important measure; one which should not be pressed upon us for consideration or discussion in any form until we have had the time and opportunity to examine its provisions in some manner other than from its mere reading at the Clerk's desk. I think this bill for the issuing of Treasury notes is not like the Treasury loan bills which have been heretofore passed by Congress, with perhaps one or two exceptions. If we consider the times in which this measure is asked to be adopted, and the circumstances under which the Government is placed, I think there will be found no precedent -- I am not perfectly certain on this point, but I think there will be found no precedent -- for the passage of a bill like this. Certainly, sir, there is no such exigency of the Government at the present time, as to require the passage of a bill of this important character at once without giving time to understand its provisions and ascertain its merits. The Government are not now, as heretofore when such loans have been negotiated, engaged in war. If there was an immediate demand for money, which could not be obtained by the Government in the regular manner, I certainty would be the last man to interpose objection to the immediate consideration of the bill. I trust, however, that, under the circumstances, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. J. Glancy Jones] will not insist upon the consideration of the bill at this time.
Mr. Ritchie. [Pennsylvania (R)] If my colleague will allow me, I will suggest another reason why the consideration of this bill should be postponed for some days, until we can have an opportunity of examining it. It has not been more than six weeks since the Secretary of the Treasury was in the market purchasing up claims against the United States, and paying $130 for every $100 of debt. Sir, for one, I want some opportunity of examining the facts presented, and ascertaining the reason why we are now called upon to issue Treasury notes within six weeks of the time that debts, not due yet for some years, have been purchased by the Treasury Department at thirty per cent. premium. Some gentleman suggests that the Treasury paid only sixteen per cent. premium. Be that as it may, I know they have paid a large premium. I repeat, that this has been done within six weeks, or two months at furthest, and I can see nothing which has occurred which should precipitate upon us the necessity of the adoption of so extraordinary a measure at this time -- on Friday afternoon, at the close of the second week of the session. We have had no such indication in the House previously, during these two weeks of the session which have already elapsed. The President scarcely alluded to the subject in his annual message, and I repeat, again, that it seems most extraordinary to me, that the Secretary of the Treasury should find himself under the necessity of pressing this important measure upon us within six or eight weeks after the purchase of claims against the Government to a large amount, which, under the law, he was not required to redeem for years; and especially when that measure of relief is the issue of paper money, which I had supposed was the horror of the Democratic party.
Mr. Grow. [Pennsylvania (R)] I concur in opinion with my Colleague, [Mr. J. Glancy Jones] if I understood him correctly in the impropriety of pressing this bill upon the consideration of the committee at this time unless by unanimous consent. I do not regard it as a bill of so little consequence as to warrant us in going on to legislate upon it without knowing what is in it. It is a bill which proposes, in the exigency in which the country is now placed, to issue $20,000,000 of Treasury notes -- of paper currency -- the effect of which will be to keep the coin in the vaults of the misers who have hoarded it there, and which have brought these troubles upon the country. Sir, this crisis has not been precipitated upon us because there was not gold and silver enough in the country. It is because the coin has been hoarded up in the vaults of misers, and the country compelled to use paper currency as its circulating medium. Sir, for one I am not prepared further to embarrass the trade of the country by adding to the cause which has produced it, by increasing the circulation of paper currency, and thereby keeping the coin which has been hoarded from general circulation.
Now, sir, I hope my colleague will not press this bill to-day, not even for discussion, for, as suggested by the gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. Banks] how are we to discuss it without understanding its contents ?
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. I wish to ask my colleague who is upon the floor, as well as my colleague who spoke before him, [Mr. Ritchie] whether it is their intention to discuss the merits of the bill, upon a question to postpone its consideration ? I do not desire to consider the bill at this time, and have so announced to the committee; but I would suggest to gentlemen, if they desire that the committee shall rise, and that the subject be postponed until some future day for consideration, whether it is fair upon that question to go into a discussion upon the merits of the bill ?
Mr. Grow. I will say in answer to my colleague, that it is not my desire to discuss the bill at the present time. My only object was to call the attention of the committee to the importance of the subject before us. I hope my colleague will move that the committee rise, and that we shall not proceed to the consideration of this subject until we have had time and opportunity of examining and of understanding it.
Mr. Letcher. [Virginia (D)] I am glad to see any evidence of improvement in the way of legislation; and nothing has afforded me more satisfaction than the remarks of the gentleman who has just taken his seat. I recollect that at the last Congress that gentleman was in the habit of reporting bills, and then, by calling the previous question, forcing us to vote upon them without any opportunity of explanation or debate, even bills of great importance, relating to the organization and general management of the Territories of the United States.
Mr. Grow. Will the gentleman allow me one word ?
Mr. Letcher. Oh certainly, anything the gentleman pleases.
Mr. Grow. The gentleman from Virginia will recollect that I reported no bill during the last Congress, upon which I called upon the House to act, until it had been printed and before us for at least ten days.
Mr. Letcher. The gentleman from Pennsylvania will recollect, that while he reported his bills and had them printed, he took particular pains to call the previous question, and cut off all opportunity of examination by debate. Now, sir, what was the use of printing a bill if you had no opportunity of expressing an opinion about what was printed ? What was the use of printing a bill of twenty sections and then excluding every member from all debate upon every one of those twenty sections ? It seems to me that the gentleman over the way is making considerable progress, and I congratulate him, and congratulate the House upon it.
Mr. Grow. I ask the gentleman from Virginia to allow me just a single word, to relieve myself from the charge of inconsistency which he seems disposed to make in reference to my conduct. I ask the gentleman from Virginia to point to a single bill reported by me upon which the House was called to act without discussion, unless it related to a subject which had been discussed more or less in Congress and throughout the country for months. I suppose the gentleman refers to the Kansas bills ?
Mr. Letcher. Yes, sir.
Mr. Grow. Well, sir, the gentleman knows that the subject of those bills had been discussed in the House and in the country for the last four years.
Mr. Letcher. The gentleman will recollect another thing which occurred in the last Congress. There were bills reported by the Land Committee, at that session, which we were forced to vote upon without their ever having been printed. We had no opportunity to see them, either in manuscript or in print, and we were called upon here to vote upon them; and we actually did vote, under the gag of the previous question, some twenty million acres of the public land. It seems that we shall probably have nothing of this sort in the present Congress; that those gentlemen will unite with us; that we will not only have our bills printed, but we will have them referred to the Committee of the Whole, and that he, and all others who are disposed to assail those bills, will have abundant opportunity to do so, before they are called upon to pass judgment, in the shape of ay or no, upon them. With this view, I move that the committee rise.
The question was taken; and the motion was agreed to.
The committee accordingly rose; and the Speaker having resumed the chair, Mr. PHELPS reported that the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union had, according to order, had the Union generally under consideration, and particularly House bill No. 4, to authorize the issue of Treasury notes, and had come to no conclusion thereon.
Mr. Washburne, of Illinois. I ask leave to submit a resolution.
Mr. Banks. I call for the regular order of business.
Mr. Ritchie moved that when the House adjourns, it adjourn to meet on Monday next.
The question was taken; and the motion was disagreed to, there being on a division-- ayes 75, noes 115.
Mr. SAVAGE. I ask leave to introduce a bill granting pensions to the officers and soldiers of the war with Great Britain, in 1812, and those engaged in Indian wars during that period, of which previous notice has been given; that it may be referred to the Committee on Invalid Pensions.
Mr. Banks. I insist on the regular order of business.
The SPEAKER. Reports from committees are in order.
THE TREASURY NOTE BILL.
The Chairman. When the committee was last in session it had before it for consideration House bill No. 4, to authorize the issue of Treasury notes. The bill has been read through, and is now open for amendment and discussion.
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. [Pennsylvania, (D)] Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to detain the committee at any length. This bill proposes to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to issue notes to the amount of $20,000,000--
Mr. BARKSDALE. Does the gentleman from Pennsylvania design to press the bill to a vote to-day ?
Mr. J. GLANCY JONES, I shall be glad if the House will take a vote on the bill to-day. I will occupy only a few moments, for the bill requires only a word or two of explanation. It is similar in its provisions to bills which were passed by Congress at different periods of time, beginning with the year 1833. It is similar to the the bill of 1847, with perhaps two exceptions. That bill provided for the funding of the Treasury notes. This bill omits that provision; so that the Treasury notes issued under this bill cannot at any time be funded. They are made payable in one year.
It is proposed by this bill, that $6,000,000 of these notes may be issued immediately by the Secretary of the Treasury at a rate of interest to be fixed by himself, limiting him not to exceed, however, six per cent. per annum. The balance, of the $20,000,000 is to be advertised for bids, and is to be given to the bidders of the lowest rate of interest, the maximum here being also fixed at six per centum. These are the only features of this bill that contradistinguish it from the acts of 1833, 1837, 1847, and others, which I do not just now recollect. These, then, being its only peculiarities, I am not required to make any lengthy explanation. The act of 1837, if my memory serves me, was passed when the Whig party was in power, and the act of 1847 when the Democratic party was in power. I alluded to this merely to show the committee that this bill is a mere transcript of the bills passed by these parties when they were in power, and resorted to this mode of raising a loan.
The Secretary of the Treasury has addressed a letter to the Committee of Ways and Means, which will explain the bill, perhaps, much better than I could, and in fewer words.
It has been said that it is strange this issue of Treasury notes should be asked when the report of the Secretary of the Treasury shows an estimate of a balance of half a million in the Treasury at the expiration of the fiscal year ending the 30th of June, 1858; but it must be remembered that the estimates of that report are made on the ground that the receipts, from customs, will be the same as in ordinary years. Nothing has occurred to change the estimate referred to, unless it be the diminished consumption of the country. One fact is apparent, that there is now $28,000,000 of goods in the bonded warehouses; and if those goods be brought into market, they will pay into, the Treasury some six million dollars. But the anticipation now is, that these goods may remain in the Government's bonded warehouses for some years. The necessity for this measure does not arise so much from an empty Treasury, for there is in its vaults an available balance of $6,000,000; but we are in such condition that there is no telling at what day the Treasury may be exhausted by some sudden change, some contingency or other, like a cutting off of imports, or bonding those which do arrive in the country. The Secretary of the Treasury must not be understood as saying that at the Treasury is exhausted, and that this money is wanted for the ordinary expenditures of the Government; but as wishing that $20,000,000 of Treasury notes, at the lowest rate of interest, may be placed at his disposal, to be used when circumstances may require them.
The bill, as reported from the Committee of Ways and Means, omits a portion of the fourth section; and as I consider that portion important to make this bill efficient and available when it becomes a law, I shall ask for its restoration. A portion of a clause in the fourth section of the Senate bill has been stricken out by the Committee of Ways and Means, and I will explain to the committee what it is. In the first place, it is to be found in every Treasury note bill that has ever been passed by Congress, so far as I have been able to ascertain. I will read the clause, and then the committee will understand what it is. It is in section four, which reads:
The Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized, with the approbation of the President, [then comes the clause which has been stricken out,] to cause such portion of said Treasury notes as may be deemed expedient to be issued by the Treasurer in payment of warrants in favor of public creditors, or other persons lawfully entitled to such payment who may choose to receive such notes in payment at par; and the Secretary of the Treasury is further authorized, with the approbation of the President, &c.
That clause, sir, has been stricken out by the Committee of Ways and Means, or by the majority of the committee. I desire to have it restored. It has always been in all former bills. The Department is authorized by this bill, if it becomes a law, to avail itself of $6,000,000 immediately, and this clause enables them to use these treasury notes for the payment of the creditors of the Government. It does not become necessary to negotiate their loan. The clause merely authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to issue these notes to its disbursing officers for the payment of the debts of the Government; and that would facilitate, at this particular crisis, very much the movements of the Treasury Department in the issue of this money.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I will ask the Clerk to read a letter which has been addressed by the Secretary of the Treasury to the Committee of Ways and Means, and which sufficiently explains itself.
The letter was read, and is as follows:
December 15, 1857.
Sir: In my annual report to Congress of the 8th instant, an explanation of the causes which would lead to the necessity of supplying the Treasury with the means of promptly meeting the lawful claims upon it was given. I stated that "such provision should be made at the earliest practicable period, as a failure of sufficient means in the Treasury may occur at an early day."
At the time I prepared that statement, the weekly expenditures were exceeding the receipts to an extent that induced the opinion thus given. While the estimated amount of importations justified the conclusion that the revenue for the present year might be sufficient to meet the wants of the Government, yet the actual receipts into the Treasury in time to provide for the wants of the public service were dependent, not on the amount of merchandise imported, but the portion entered for consumption. At this time there is held in warehouse, in the city of New York alone, merchandise subject to duty exceeding twenty-eight million dollars in value, on which, when entered for consumption, duties must be paid to the amount of more than six million dollars.
The period when such payment of duty will be made may be influenced by so many circumstances, that the public credit should not be hazarded upon the contingency of its happening in time to meet the liabilities which we know must be provided for at an early day.
The amount now in the Treasury subject to draft is considerably less than six million dollars. When we reflect that balances must be kept in the hands of public officers in every part of the United States, by whom drafts are required to be paid, it will be readily perceived that the fiscal operations of the Government cannot be carried on with convenience and security with a less sum in the Treasury. The excess of the expenditures over the receipts is daily reducing this balance. I have been compelled to withdraw from the Mint and its branches the amount usually kept there for the purpose of facilitating the conversion of bullion into coin for the benefit of depositors. Such withdrawal necessarily occasions an inconvenience to the commercial community which should be obviated whenever it shall become practicable to do so.
It is proper to state that, in addition to the ordinary current demands on the Treasury, the sum of $722,652.29 must be paid on the 1st of January next for interest on the public debt.
In view of this state of things, I have the honor to ask your attention to the recommendation in my annual report that authority be given by law to issue Treasury notes. I think it important that Congress should act at once on the subject, that the necessary arrangements may be made by the 1st day of January to meet such public liabilities as become payable at and before that time, and which cannot be longer postponed.
Though the amount of $20,000,000 will not, in all probability, be needed at an early day, if at all, yet it is deemed best that the Department be authorized to issue and keep out that sum, should it be required by the public service. The rate of interest, for manifest reasons, should be left discretionary with the Department, subject to the approval of the President; but not to exceed six per centum per annum.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,Hon. J. Glancy Jones,
Secretary of the Treasury.
Chairman of Committee of Ways and Means, House of Representatives.
Mr. RITCHIE. I desire to call the attention of the committee to a circumstance which seems to me to make it rather doubtful whether the Administration desires, after all, to have this bill passed. In the message of the President of the United States, dated the 8th of December, I find this remark on the first page:
"Under these circumstances, a loan may be required before the close of your present session."
On the seventh page, I find this remark:
"Thanks to the Independent Treasury, the Government has not suspended payment, as it was compelled to do by the failure of the banks in 1837. It will continue to discharge its liabilities to the people in gold and silver. Its disbursements in coin will pass into circulation, and materially assist in restoring a sound currency. From its high credit, should we be compelled to make a temporary loan, it can be effected on advantageous terms."
So says the President. He contemplates nothing but the use of gold and silver; and if he has not enough of that in the Treasury, he intends to borrow it. This message of the President -- and I suppose he speaks for the whole Administration -- is dated on the 8th day of December. But here is the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, bearing date on the same day as the message of the President, in which he says that he is going to use nothing but gold and silver, and that it is going to assist materially in restoring a sound currency to the country; and what does the Secretary of the Treasury say ? I wish to point out to the honorable chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means this discrepancy. There is certainly something wrong here in regard to the views of some part of the Administration. I cannot make out which is the real turtle and which is the mock one. The President says he will have nothing but gold and silver. Now hear what the Secretary of the Treasury says:
" In the mean time, adequate means for meeting lawful demands on the Treasury should be provided.
Such provisions should be made at the earliest practicable period, as a failure of sufficient means in the Treasury may occur at an early day. The exigency being regarded as temporary, the mode of providing for it should be of a temporary character. It is therefore, recommended that authority be given to this Department by law to issue Treasury notes for an amount not to exceed $20,000,000, payable within a limited time, and carrying a specified rate of interest, whenever the immediate demands of the public service may call for a greater amount of money than shall happen to be in the Treasury, subject to the Treasurer's drafts in payment of warrants.
The fact that such temporary exigency may arise from circumstances beyond the foresight or control of this Department, makes some adequate provision to meet it indispensable to the public security."
So says the Secretary of the Treasury.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I can explain this discrepancy upon no ground but this: that we have here two kinds of Democracy -- theoretical Democracy and practical Democracy. Theoretical Democracy disdains Treasury notes; it would touch nothing but gold and silver; practical Democracy will use whatever it can get to answer its purpose. If it has no gold and silver, it will issue Treasury notes; or, perhaps, speaking more properly, I should say that there are two Democratic dresses: one is a parade dress, for State occasions, and one a working dress, for working days. The gentlemen in the parade dress, who represent part of the Democracy, will have nothing but gold and silver; will touch nothing else than that. But the other class of gentlemen come slipping in behind, making very little noise, in their working day dress, and will take what they get; whether gold and silver, or Treasury notes. But, as the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means has just remarked, that committee has taken out of the bill that feature of it which alone gave it the character of a loan bill. The original bill proposed that these notes should go to increase the debt of the nation, thus giving it somewhat the character of a loan. But now, the President and the Secretary of the Treasury fall back from gold and silver upon notes; and they come into the House here and propose that these notes are to be kept in circulation as bank notes, and nothing else.
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. I do not rise to I address the committee, but merely to state that it is impossible for me to hear what is said on the other side of the Hall, and to inquire whether my colleague propounded any interrogatories to me ?
Mr. Ritchie. No, sir; I said nothing requiring explanation, so far as my understanding of it is concerned. I see that the gentleman is in a dilemma. He must have these notes. I know that perfectly well. I do not desire to throw obstacles in the way of the operations of the Treasury Department. I desired merely to call the attention of the House and of the country to the fact that the theoretical Democracy and the practical Democracy are two entirely distinct things; and I desired to illustrate that by examples drawn from messages of the President of the United States and of the Secretary of the Treasury -- both messages dated on the same day, and brought to the House at the same hour.
Mr. J. GLANCY JONES. I have no response to make to that, because it is perfectly understood.
Mr. BANKS. I desire to know whether the bill has been read by sections, or whether it is hereafter to be read by sections ?
The CHAIRMAN. The bill will hereafter be read by sections. It was read in extenso yesterday; and, so soon as the progress of the debate will permit, it will be read by sections, subject to amendment.
Mr. BANKS. I have an amendment which I desire to offer at a proper stage of the bill. I desire now to make a suggestion to which the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means has referred -- that is, as to the relative bearing of this bill, and of those that have been passed by Congress in previous years. He has stated that this bill differs from that of 1847, and from the bills passed in previous years, in one or two particulars only. In my judgment, it differs materially in more respects than those which he has suggested. It differs from those other Treasury note bills in the matter of principle, as well as in the matter of details. I have no reflections to make on the character of the Administration as it regards its Democracy. I do not know whether, as my friend from Pennsylvania [Mr. Ritchie] says, there are on the other side of the House two classes of Democracy, or but one class. I only want to say, for myself and friends on this side of the House, that what he says in reference to Democracy has no reference to the Democracy on this side of the House.
The question of issuing Treasury notes has been one regarded by all parties in this country, from the beginning of the Government, as a matter of doubtful expediency, and dangerous in principle; and the plan has never been adopted, under any circumstances, when any other measure of relief could be immediately obtained by the Government of the country. There is nothing better established, upon the opinions of statesmen of all parties and of all times, than that the resort to a loan, in the form of Treasury notes, is a matter of doubtful expediency and of dangerous character. It has been so characterized by every man connected with the Government of the country who has had occasion to pass judgment on this question; but I know perfectly well that, at different periods of the Government, Treasury notes have been issued, and loans obtained in this way for the use of the Government. But I think that this will be found to be the truth in regard to every single case of this kind -- that it has been a measure of necessity, and only adopted after the Government had ascertained that the relief which was necessary could be obtained in no other manner, and in no other form. This is as true in reference to the Treasury note bill of 1847 or 1846 as it is to those of 1841 and 1842, and to the Treasury note bill of 1837. In each case the Government had ascertained that it was impossible to obtain the relief that it desired to obtain in any other manner or form (so far as I can recollect the history of this question) than in the form of Treasury notes.
Now, whatever doubt we may have in regard to the expediency of this measure, as it concerns principle or its details, if the Government of the United States is, at this time, in such condition that it can obtain no relief for its immediate necessities and wants, except through the issue of Treasury notes, I, for one, am entirely willing to give my vote for the issue, on that statement being made. But it is not true, in my judgment. I think there never was a time when a loan for a small amount, or for a large amount, for a short time, or for a long time, could be obtained by the Government of the United States better than it can be at this day. I believe that the country is richer to-day than it ever has been before. There is more gold and silver coin in the country, by a hundred million dollars, than whenever the Treasury note question has been presented before. The banking institutions of the country are in a better condition to-day than they were at any period when the Treasury note question was presented by Congress to the country. Therefore, if there could be a loan by the Government of the United States, at this time, for a large sum or for a small sum, for a short time or for a long time, there is no apology for the resort to the issue of Treasury notes on the principle of the Treasury note bills of past times.---[the banks are sitting on gold ($50 million) which they are not willing to pay out; they are also not willing to issue notes to individuals, but would be very much willing and happy to issue their notes to the Government; as the fine upstanding Representative of New England people knows the banks are not going to bring in cart-loads of coin to the Treasury to give them for those bonds which the honourable member would like the Government to issue]
In 1837, it will be recollected by every gentleman on this floor, the Treasury note bill was introduced by the Administration, and sustained on the declaration that a loan could not be obtained at par for the use of the Government. It was passed on that ground. Gentlemen who then supported the Administration in this House took that ground. If I recollect right, the gentleman who was then chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, and the gentleman from Virginia who sustained the measure at that time, put it upon the ground, expressly and exclusively, that the Government could not obtain the relief that it demanded by the usual and proper course of a loan.
The same thing is true of the bills of 1841 and 1842. The Government of the United States had applied for loans. The Administration of 1841 proposed a loan bill, but found it was impossible to obtain a loan by selling the stock of the United States at par; and therefore, and on that ground, the Treasury note bill was passed, and not -- as this bill is now presented by the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means -- as an ordinary expedient for an ordinary relief of the Government.
And the same thing is true of the bill of 1847. The country was then at war with a foreign nation. The armies of this country had then, for the first time, undertaken to fight a battle upon territory exclusively of a foreign nation. The Administration had determined in their own judgment that the relief which was necessary for the Government at that time could not be obtained by the proper manner of a loan upon the stocks of the United States soon enough for the relief of the Government. It was so stated, and Congress therefore passed a Treasury note bill for that reason, for the relief of the Government at that time. But, sir, in that bill was incorporated the principle of a loan. They provided that the President of the United States should have authority to issue the stocks of the United States for the whole amount, or for as much of the $23,000,000 as should become necessary for the Government, in order, if it were possible, to obtain a loan upon the stocks of the United States -- the stocks at six per cent. selling at par, that the President should have no reason for issuing Treasury notes, which had been declared by the eminent men of all parties from the beginning of the Government as inexpedient and dangerous in character, and false in principle.
Now, sir, if there be an exigency of this kind at this time, for one, I am ready cheerfully to afford relief to the Government to the extent it may desire, or the Administration recommend. But, sir, I ask that this House shall, in the first place, include, by inference at least, by a provision in this bill declaring that, unless it shall be found necessary -- unless it shall be impossible and impracticable to obtain a loan upon the stocks of the United States, there shall be no issuance of Treasury notes to meet the wants of the Government. If it shall be found impracticable to obtain a loan, then I am willing that authority shall be given to issue Treasury notes.
Therefore, I ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. J. Glancy Jones,] and gentlemen on the other side of the House, when they set up the precedent of 1847 to sustain them in this measure, that they will incorporate into the measure the provision of the act of 1847, giving the President authority to make a loan, if a loan can be had upon fair terms, and throw upon him the responsibility of issuing Treasury notes if he shall choose to issue them without taking measures for first obtaining a loan. I ask, both upon principle and upon precedent, that that provision be incorporated into this act. It will relieve us Democrats on this side of the House [laughter] of some of the difficulties in our way in voting for this bill, standing as we do upon the principles and the practice of the Government in all past time.
But it is not in this respect only that this bill differs from the act of 1847 to which we have been referred. There is another, an essential and important difference, to which I wish to call the attention of the House. The bill of 1847 was introduced as a war measure. We were then, as I have said, engaged in a war with Mexico. It was not known to the Government, first, whether a loan could be negotiated in time to answer their purposes; and, second, what would be the duration of the contest. The chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, who presented the bill of 1847 some time in July, 1846 or 1847, (I do not recollect precisely the date,) stated that if the war should not be brought to a conclusion and a treaty of peace established by the 1st of December following -- not more than six months ahead -- then they should take the initiative of presenting a bill for the issue of a loan upon the stocks of the United States in the ordinary manner. It was therefore a mere temporary measure to meet the exigencies of the Government in time of war. That bill, as I have said, provided first for the issue of a loan upon the stocks of the United States; but it went beyond that, and provided that the authority to issue Treasury notes should cease and determine upon a contingency named in the bill -- that six months after the close of the war with Mexico the authority to issue Treasury notes should cease and determine.
Sir, if there was ever an occasion where unlimited authority for the issue of Treasury notes was warranted, it was under circumstances such as then existed. We knew not what would be the condition of the American army in Mexico. It had been declared by distinguished statesmen at the South, that it was impossible for American troops to meet the Mexicans in their own territory, to which our troops were unaccustomed, with even chances of success; and great doubt was felt everywhere in the country, as gentlemen well know, not only as to the issue, but as to the time of the issue. We were then without funds, and without a surplus in the Treasury to any very great amount. And therefore, having war upon our hands with a foreign nation, prosecuted for the first time upon the territory of that foreign nation, the duration of which we could not anticipate or determine, I say, that if there was ever a time when it would be proper to give the Administration full sweep, it was under circumstances like these. But even in that case, and under circumstances like these, a limitation was placed in the bill fixing the period when the power to issue Treasury notes should cease and determine.---[first you consider it a loan, then you don't like it because it is not borrowed from banks; you object to government paper being circulated, you have no objection to bank paper -- paper that banks just refused to honour and redeem as promised; the logic of yours]
But, sir, if I have read the bill, which has this moment been handed me by a page, there is no such provision in it. It provides for issuing Treasury notes to the amount of $20,000,000, and that there shall not be more than $20,000,000 of such notes outstanding at any one time. But they are to be issued and reissued as they are called in, for aught that is contained in this bill, as long as the Government shall continue. There is no limitation of time.
Now, sir, no man in this House can say, looking to the condition of the country, and looking to the prospects in regard to the continuance of the present difficulties, that this unusual and extraordinary source should be continued for more than three, two, or even one year after the passage of this bill, if the authority is given to the Administration at all. Under the circumstances in which we are placed, if we create this authority we should not extend the limit of its exercise beyond the meeting of the next Congress. There is no reason why such a power should be given to the Administration to extend beyond one year. The next Congress should be allowed to say for itself whether it is necessary to continue or repeat this act. In these respects I say, Mr. Chairman, this bill differs materially from the Treasury loan bill of 1847.
Mr. COBB. I understand the gentleman to say that these Treasury notes are asked at a time when we are in a profound peace, and I rise now to take exception to this, for, as I understand the President's message, we will soon be at war with the Mormons of Utah.
Mr. BANKS. That is impossible. We have upon this floor a Delegate from the Territory of Utah, in just as good standing, and with the same rights, as the gentleman from Alabama. No member here can say that we are at war with Utah, because we have a representative from, that Territory upon this floor, who has been recognized by the House. There is a speck of war; but I will say to my friend that it is in another direction and for the future, and that the Government will not be relieved in that difficulty by any Treasury notes.
There are other points of difference between the bill of 1847 and the bill proposed by the Committee of Ways and Means beside those named by the gentleman from Pennsylvania and those I have suggested. In the first place, the bill of 1847 gave the privilege to the holders of Treasury notes to fund them if they chose. It gave to the President of the United States the authority to issue stocks of the United States in lieu of Treasury notes, if he thought proper. It also required -- an important provision in the then condition of public affairs, but still more important in regard to the provisions of this bill -- the President of the United States, at the beginning of each session of Congress, to make a deliberate statement of the issue of notes, of the redemption of notes, by whom paid, how paid, when paid, and every circumstance connected both with the payment and redemption of these notes. This information is important to the House and the country. It is certainly not included in this bill, and I think the gentleman from Pennsylvania will admit that such a provision ought to be in it.
I do not touch the question of the character of the issue, whether it affects the hard money currency of the country or the paper-money currency. I call the attention of the gentleman froth Pennsylvania and the gentlemen of this House to the difference simply between the bill of 1847 and this bill. At the proper place, I shall move the following amendment:
And be it further enacted, That the President, if in his opinion it shall be the interest of the United States so to do, instead of issuing the whole amount of Treasury notes authorized by the first section of this act, may borrow, on the credit of the United States, such an amount of money as he may deem proper, and issue therefor the stock of the United States, bearing interest at a rate not exceeding six per centum, for the sum thus borrowed, redeemable after the 30th June: Provided, however, That the sum so borrowed, together with the Treasury notes issued by authority of this act, shall not, in the aggregate, exceed the sum of $20,000,000: And provided further, That no stock shall be issued at a less rate than its par value: And provided further, That the power to issue Treasury notes conferred on the President of the United States by this act shall cease and determine on the 1st day of January, 1859.
Mr. MILLSON. Mr. Chairman, I agree with much that the gentleman front Massachusetts has said, and it is for that very reason that I have risen to express my surprise that he has indulged in the complaints which he has just made. The gentleman has said, and truly said, that the country was never in a more prosperous condition than now, and he seems to doubt the necessity for continuing the issue of these Treasury notes. It is for that reason, sir, that I think that Congress ought at this time to prefer to supply the public necessities by the issue of these Treasury notes, rather than by resorting to loans on a long period of credit. It may be, sir, that the Treasury will have little or no occasion for such aid. It may be that the imports into the country will continue to be as large as they have been for some years past, and the revenue will be so abundant as to obviate any necessity for a resort to a loan. My own opinion on that subject, Mr. Chairman, is that there will be but a slight falling off in the public revenues. I do hot know the relation between the exports and the imports of the last fiscal year; but I do know that for the two preceding years there was, what never has been before in the history of the Government, an excess of exports over the imports, of about $25,000,000. And when you take into consideration the fact that these exports are rated at the domestic valuation, while the imports came to us with the addition of profit, insurance, freight, and other charges, I do not think I make an extravagant declaration when I say that the public reports from the Treasury will show that, upon the transactions of these two years alone, the United States stand before the world as the creditor nation to the amount, perhaps, of $100,000,000.
This large indebtedness must be paid. It must be paid either in specie or in merchandise; and when we recollect that we are the great producers of specie, and reflect upon the general derangement of the business transactions of the country, if we continue to import specie in addition to the domestic supply, we must come to the conclusion that this debt will be paid to us in merchandise, thus filling the Treasury again, and providing for all the possible wants of the Government. I say, therefore, that there may be, for aught we know, no necessity whatever for any loan. I trust that it may be so; but at this time, sir, we are threatened with a deficiency of revenues. It is important that the public credit shall be maintained; it is necessary that the public wants shall be provided for; and it is proper, therefore, that discretion should be given to the agents of the Government, who, if they are trusted with the custody of the large sums belonging to the United States, may be very safely trusted also with the exercise of this discretion of issuing Treasury notes, in order, if necessary, to provide by this means for the public wants.
If you resort to loans at a long period, what will or what may be the consequence ? Why, after having borrowed the money, it may appear that there was no necessity for it, and that it can be applied to no proper use, and the Government will then be placed in the condition, where it was only a few months ago, of purchasing its own paper at a very heavy appreciation, in order to save the unnecessary payment of interest. It may be compelled to do again what it was but recently obliged to do -- that is, redeem its notes at a premium of some fifteen or sixteen per cent. You avoid this danger by the issue of Treasury notes. You have the advantage, too, of issuing these notes in sums adapted to the exigency of the moment. If you want them of small amount, why you will issue but a small amount of notes. It is not to be supposed that the Secretary of the Treasury, upon his responsibility as a public officer, will unnecessarily plunge the Government in debt by issuing a larger amount of Treasury notes than the wants of the country require.
The honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Ritchie] who spoke a few minutes ago, seemed disposed to taunt the Democratic members with seeming or imputed inconsistency -- for it was rather an imputed inconsistency than even a seeming one -- in protesting in their theoretical expostulations against a paper currency, while practically they are found voting for the issue of Treasury notes, which he described as a new form, or another form of a paper currency. I am inclined to suspect, Mr. Chairman, that the argument thus used by the gentleman from Pennsylvania was intended by him to have more weight on this side of the House than that gentleman would be willing to attribute to it himself. Does he object to a paper currency ? Is he an advocate of the hard-money system ? I do not think he is. But the gentleman, perhaps, supposed that his chanting the virtues of a hard-money currency would, at least, have an effect here which it had not on his own mind. But, allow me to ask, Mr. Chairman, what sort of resemblance is there between Treasury notes bearing interest and a paper currency ? Does not the gentleman know that there is scarcely a single feature of resemblance between these Treasury notes of the Government and what he calls a paper currency ? I think, sir, it would be difficult to find a member in this Hall more desirous to destroy, or, at least, to diminish the circulation of paper money than I am; and yet it never occurred to me that there was the slightest inconsistency between my wishes upon that subject and my practice in the case now before the committee.
Why, sir, the most earnest and eager opponent of a paper-money currency has never questioned the propriety and the necessity of going into debt whenever debt becomes unavoidable; and when you go into debt, it is not only proper, but honest that some acknowledgment of the debt should be given, and some promise to pay interest for the withholding of the debt. What more do the Government do, sir, in the issue of Treasury notes ? Is this a paper currency ? It is but the borrowing of money; it is but the payment of the public creditor by giving him an acknowledgment of his debt, and promising to pay him interest for the delay of payment.
Mr. BANKS. We know that it is borrowing money; but it is the form of borrowing to which we object.
Mr. Millson. [Virginia (D)] But the gentleman has not stated what there is objectionable in this form of borrowing, except that he supposes these Treasury notes notes will be used as currency. Now, I will undertake to show that if we are to judge of the future by the experience of the past, these Treasury notes will not be used as currency -- will not go into the general circulation; and for the simple reason that State bonds and the evidences of ownership in the stock of your banking institutions are not used as a general currency, because they are bearing interest, and are worth more today than yesterday, and will be worth more tomorrow than to-day; they have no certain ascertained value; their value is perpetually changing; they are not fitted for the purposes of currency at all. We know very well, Mr. Chairman, that when Treasury notes were issued some years ago, they were not used as a currency; they were purchased as other public stocks were purchased; they were generally sought after as means of profitable investment of money. And so it will be again.
When the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. BANKS] interrupted me, I was proceeding to say that the Government paid to its creditors, or to such as were willing to receive them, these Treasury notes. There is no obligation implied in this bill for the reception of these notes. The public creditors may refuse to receive them. We know, Mr. Chairman, that in times past -- and the very bill before you contemplates the possibility of a similar state of things existing hereafter -- the Government has been wholly without means of paying those who are in the public employment; they prefer to continue in the public employment, even though they receive no money and not even an acknowledgment of the debt due them. What does this bill propose to do, sir, but to give to those persons evidences of the public indebtedness and to discharge the obligations of honesty and morality by promising to pay them interest upon the debts due them ? That is all.
I therefore think, sir, that there is a peculiar propriety, for the very reasons assigned by the gentleman from Massachusetts himself, in raising this loan in the form of Treasury notes; and, sir, if I could have heard the statement of the gentleman's premises before he anticipated his conclusion, I should have come to the belief that he would have urged the issue of Treasury notes as a means of raising the required sum of money rather than a resort to a loan. But the gentleman, as I conceive, with all respect to him, with a perfect disregard of the obligations of logic, arrived at a conclusion which, as I conceive, is wholly and irreconcilably at war with his premises.
Mr. Stephens, of Georgia. What is the question before the committee ?
The Chairman pro tempore, (Mr. Bocock occupying the chair.) The bill has been read.
Mr. Stephens, of Georgia. There is no motion pending, then. I hope we shall take up the bill by sections, and go to work regularly, and have no more of this desultory discussion.
The Chairman pro tempore. Debate has not been closed upon the bill, but the first section will be reported to the committee.
Mr. Washburn, of Maine, obtained the floor.
Mr. Stephens, of Georgia. Before we proceed further, I move that the committee rise for the purpose of closing debate.
The Chairman pro tempore. If the gentleman from Maine will yield the floor for that purpose, the gentleman from Georgia can submit the motion; but otherwise, the floor cannot be taken from the gentleman from Maine.
Mr. Washburn, of Maine. I decline to yield.
Mr. Stephens, of Georgia. I did not know the gentleman from Maine had the floor.
Mr. DAVIS, of Maryland. I desire, with the leave of the gentleman from Maine, to inquire of the Chair whether, if the bill be now read by sections, the debate will be confined to the sections which have been read ?
The Chairman pro tempore. By no means. Debate has not been closed upon the bill, and any subject embraced in the bill is open to discussion. The first section of the bill was then read.
Mr. BANKS. I move to amend the first section of the bill, by adding to it the following proviso:
Provided, That the power to issue Treasury notes, conferred on the President of the United State, by this act, shall cease and determine on the 1st day of January, 1859.
Mr. Washburn, of Maine. I think that the effect of the answer made by the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Millson] to the gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. BANKS,] is somewhat broken by the consideration that he ignored entirely the terms of the amendment. By that amendment, as I understand it, it was to be left to the discretion of the President of the United States to say whether a loan should be substituted for the issue of Treasury notes. Is not the gentleman from Virginia willing to indorse that discretion to the President of his choice ? The gentleman from Virginia assumed that any loan which might be authorized, or made under the authority of the Administration, would be a loan for a long period of time; whereas, by the amendment, the time was not fixed, and, as I understand it, no time was contemplated by the amendment. If there was a blank in it, it might have been filled up by the House hereafter, or discretion might have been given to the Administration which, it seems to me, would remove entirely the objection of the gentleman from Virginia. Sir, in all times past, gentlemen of the school to which my friend from Virginia belongs, have opposed this principle of issuing paper promises by the Government, or by any of the agents or instrumentalities of the Government. No political party in this country has been so ready at all times to oppose any measure resembling in principle that now before the committee.
Why is this change -- this signal and marked change ? Why is it that these men who have been always heretofore opposed to paper currency, paper money, and paper promises in any form and in all forms, are now in favor of it, and are unwilling to leave any alternative to the Administration that they have put in power ? Why is it ? There must be some reason, and perhaps some reason that cannot meet the eye. There would have been no necessity at all for the measure, had the Administration of the gentleman's choice in past times been as prudent and as economical, and as just to all sections of the country as they should have been. We recollect, a few years ago, when ten millions were voted by this House, (and we were told that we had no right to inquire into the reasons of it,) for the purchase of a little strip of land, a few miles wide, worth not $10,000, as Colonel Benton told us; for the purpose of making the only connection that some gentlemen think it is possible to make between the Atlantic and Pacific, through the region of Arizonia. May it not be that there are some other such operations in prospect -- one out here in the ocean and others in the southwest -- and that gentlemen desire not to be embarrassed by being told, when they come here with their propositions for an appropriation for such purpose, that not only is the Treasury empty, but that the Government has been contracting loans, permanent loans it may be, to get along with its ordinary expenditures.
I wish to know if there is anything of the nature of these reasons in this matter; or, if not, what the reasons are that have produced this wonderful and marked change in the opinions of the gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. Millson] and of those who agree with him on this floor.
Mr. DAVIS, of Mississippi. I wish to inquire why members have not been furnished with copies of this bill ? I understood that it was ordered to be printed yesterday, and supposed that the object was, that each member should have an opportunity of examining the bill for himself, so that he might be prepared to vote on the question when it came up. I find that there are copies of the bill on the desks of some members; but I, as well as many other members, have been unable to get a copy. I simply desire to know if the rule is that a few members are to have printed copies of the bill, and that the rest of the members are simply to take their votes as the rule by which they are to be governed ? I want a copy of the bill for my own information.
The Chairman pro tempore, (Mr. Bocock.) Of course, the present occupant of the chair had no control over the printing of the bill; but he has been informed that the usual order to print has not been executed, in consequence of want of time. The rules of the House require that a sufficient number of copies be printed to furnish each member with one. The order to print was only made yesterday, and sufficient time has not elapsed, perhaps, to have the requisite number of copies printed; so that some gentlemen may have got copies, while others have not.
Mr. JONES, of Tennessee. I presume there are copies enough in the document room for all the members of the House.
Mr. SMITH, of Virginia. There are none there. I have sent, and have not been able to get one.
Mr. JONES, of Tennessee. It only requires some two hundred and fifty copies to supply the House.
Mr. J. GLANCY JONES. I may state that I took the pains myself to see that this bill should be printed; and I was informed that copies would be here for distribution at half past twelve. One was laid on my table at one o'clock, and others circulated around me; and, therefore, I supposed that all the members were supplied.
Mr. FLORENCE. Whose duty is it to see to this ? Is it the duty of the Clerk of the House to have bills printed and put in possession of members ?
The Chairman pro tempore. The Doorkeeper has just informed the Chair, that a new supply has been brought in, and is in the hand of the pages, for distribution.
Mr. FLORENCE. I heard it said that they had not been sent to the Clerk's office. The Clerk is only an amateur, and I want to keep him to his duty. I want to set an example on this side of the House.
Mr. BISHOP. I have thus far, Mr. Chairman, heard no man deny that the resources of the Government were about exhausted; that the Treasury of the United States was nearly empty; and that there was a necessity, by some means or other, of raising funds to carry on the Government. The only question that has been discussed has been, whether this loan should be secured through an issue of Treasury notes, or by a loan, founded on Government stock.
It has been suggested, why not leave the question to the President of the United States, to decide whether he wishes this money raised by loan or by the issue of Treasury notes ? Why, Mr. Chairman, if I understand correctly, the President wishes for no such privilege. He comes here, through the Secretary of the Treasury, and asks the Senate and House of Representatives to grant him the privilege of issuing Treasury notes. He does not ask for power to negotiate a loan upon the security of United States stocks. So far, then, as the opinions of the President are concerned, we are acting in conformity with those opinions; we are only carrying out the views of the President, in doing exactly what he recommends us to do.
It was suggested by the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. GROW] the other day that it was a very extraordinary state of affairs to see this Government, only sixty days ago purchasing up their stocks at a premium of twenty or thirty per cent., now coming forward and asking for the issue of Treasury notes to meet their immediate necessities. Mr. Chairman, it is an extraordinary state of affairs, but no more extraordinary connected with the Government than connected with the affairs of individuals throughout the country. Where can there be found a man engaged largely in business who was not buying State stocks, railroad bonds, and railroad stocks, at a high premium, sixty and ninety days ago ? And yet how many of those men have since become bankrupt, and have been compelled to place their effects in the hands of their creditors for settlement ? It is true that this is an extraordinary state of affairs, but it is this very state of affairs which has brought about the necessity which exists for issuing these Treasury notes.
Now, the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Millson] suggests that these Treasury notes will not go into circulation. I cannot concur with the gentleman in that respect; I believe that they will go into circulation, and that they will be made a medium of exchange throughout the country, and that the business of the country will be greatly benefited in consequence; and it is for that reason, as much as any other, that I prefer the issue of Treasury notes to the issue of the United States stocks, as a measure of relief.
When the gentleman says that State or United States stocks and bonds have never been used as a medium of exchange it is very true, for the Government has never proposed to receive State or Government bonds in payment of the debts due the Government of the United States. But, sir, it is provided in this bill that these notes shall be received by the Government in payment of debts due the Government, and hence it arises, from the necessity of the case, that these Treasury notes will be made a medium of exchange. I know that, in my section of the country, they are looking for these Treasury notes, for the very purpose of making them a medium of exchange. If they bear no more than one per cent. interest, they will be taken into the banks as the equivalent for gold, just as much as though they bore six per cent. interest.
Another objection to the issue of United States stocks is that, in order that they may bring a large premium, they must have a long time to run. The exigencies of the Government may require that this money shall be needed only for a short time, perhaps only for a few months; and when that time has past, if you issue your Government stocks they may run on for twenty years, and you are obliged to pay interest upon them for the whole time, and then perhaps you bring about the same state of affairs spoken of by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, in which the Government will again be found purchasing up its own stocks at a premium of twenty or thirty per cent. For that reason it is more economical for the Government, and better for the business of the country, that Treasury notes should be issued rather than Government stocks.
We have been referred to the issue of United States stocks in 1847, and it has been suggested that, as that plan was adopted then, why not adopt it now ? Why, Mr. Chairman, there is no prospect of the Government wanting the same amount of money now which it wanted then. It may be, that before these very Treasury notes are executed by the Secretary of the Treasury, the necessities of the Government will have passed, that the importations will have increased, and that there will be sufficient money in the Treasury to meet the exigencies of the Government before the time arrives for the issue of the first note. But I hope, Mr. Chairman, that if these notes are to be issued, the passage of the bill may not be delayed in this House. If they are to be issued at all, they should be issued in the most speedy manner. For, while the issue of these notes will be an advantage to the Government, I know that so far as my section of the country is concerned, they will be of wonderful advantage to the business of the State. Business there is prostrated. The country is not, as the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. BANKS] said, in a prosperous condition. It may be true that there is more money in the country than ever before, but if such is the fact, I should like to have the gentleman from Massachusetts point out where it is to be found. The manufacturers and the business men of Connecticut cannot find it. It is hoarded up; confidence is lost; and though there may be money in the country, it cannot be made available for the benefit of the business men of the country, except at a high rate of interest.
Mr. Covode. I wish to ask the gentleman from Connecticut a question, with his permission. I wish to ask whether the simple reason why this gold is not in circulation is not that paper money has taken the place of it ? Then, if you put more paper money into circulation by the issue of Treasury notes, do not you drive more gold out of circulation ? and not only out of circulation, but out of the country ? That is the cause of the difficulty under which the country is laboring. The more paper you introduce as a circulating medium, the more gold you drive out of circulation.
Mr. BISHOP. In answer to the gentleman from Pennsylvania I have to say, if he admits that these Treasury notes are the same description of currency as the paper issued by the banks throughout the Union, perhaps his argument may amount to something; or, if he believes that the issue by the Government of a few Treasury notes for a few months, or for a year or two, in order to make up a small deficiency in the Treasury, is the same as the establishing of a bank authorized to issue notes of the denomination of five dollars, three dollars, two dollars, and one dollar, almost without limit, with scarcely a dollar of specie upon which that paper money is based, I admit, then, that his argument may amount to something. I am no more in favor than the gentleman from Pennsylvania of making the United States Government a machine for the manufacture of paper money. I regret that so much paper money has been sent into circulation throughout the country. I believe that it has been the great cause of the present unfortunate condition of the country.
Mr. Covode. I say to the gentleman, from Connecticut, that he started with the admission that the money in the Treasury is nearly exhausted, and therefore there is nothing upon which to base this circulation of paper money. [Laughter.]
Mr. BISHOP. I ask the gentleman whether this bill does not provide that these Treasury notes shall be sold to the highest bidder, and that gold shall be paid for them ? If this is true; I then ask him whether, when these Treasury notes are out, there is not a dollar of gold for every dollar of notes ?
I do not wish to dwell upon this subject. I am no advocate of paper money. I should like to see a law passed, if it were possible and constitutional, forbidding any banks in the Union from issuing a bill under the denomination of fifty dollars. But, sir, that cannot be done. I trust that this measure will pass. It will meet the necessities of the country and benefit the business of the country.
Mr. J. Glancy Jones. I am anxious to bring the House to a vote upon this bill to-day, and I therefore move that the committee rise, with a view to fix a time for closing debate on it.
Mr. Davis, of Maryland. I desire to submit a few remarks, and I hope the gentleman will not make his motion now.
The CHAIRMAN. The motion is not debatable.
Mr. Clingman demanded tellers.
Tellers were ordered; and Messrs. Savage and Winslow were appointed.
The question was taken; and it was decided in the negative, the tellers having reported-- ayes 80, noes 92.
So the committee refused to rise.
Mr. Davis, of Maryland. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman who last addressed the committee threw some light on a subject which has removed some doubt which previously rested upon it, if not as to the purposes intended to be accomplished, at least as to the purposes which will be accomplished by this bill, if passed in its present form. It was stated yesterday by the honorable gentleman from Alabama, [Mr. Houston] who for a long time presided over the Committee of Ways and Means, that this bill, he believed, followed, with considerable accuracy, the precedents of former bills for issuing Treasury notes. The honorable chairman of the present Committee of Ways and Means started out this morning with the same statement, which, however, he qualified, by saying that they were the same, with the exception of two or three particulars, which he specified, still leaving the impression upon the House that this bill was no novelty, but was in the line of former precedents, if they were not the same.
I was very much struck by both forms of expression at the time they were used; and on investigating the former laws which have been passed, I find that they are alike in the formal parts of the bill, but in those portions which touch the material qualities of it, they greatly differ. I can scarcely add, on this point, to the observations already made so well by the gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. Banks] nor have I any further suggestions to make with reference to the amendment which he has moved, for the purpose of bringing this bill within the line of early precedents.
In the first place, with reference to a matter of detail -- and I address myself especially to my friend at the head of the Committee of Ways and Means -- the clause of the fourth section which he has moved to add to the bill, cannot stand in the bill without coming in direct conflict with the second provision of the bill as originally drawn; and that conflict existed in the bill when drawn; and when yesterday presented to the Committee of Ways and Means for their consideration. I make the suggestion because the gentleman can obviate the difficulty by an amendment. The second section provides that the first $6,000,000 issued shall be issued at such rate of interest as the Secretary of the Treasury shall see fit to prescribe; and it directs that the residue shall issue at such rate of interest as shall be bid for by the lowest bidder.
The fourth section, as amended by the honorable gentleman, provides that these Treasury notes shall be exchanged in the payment of the duties of the Government to persons bearing warrants on the Treasury. But as they are to bear interest, and as only $6,000,000 can have the rate of interest fixed by the Secretary of the Treasury, and as the rate of interest on the residue is to be fixed by bidding, it is plain that it is impossible to apply any beyond the $6,000,000 to the payment of the creditor of the Government, unless he and the Secretary of the Treasury are themselves to bid, according to the language of the act. It is plain, therefore, that my honorable friend must modify the bill in that particular. When that shall have been done, then the bill will be in the position in which the President of the United States desires it; and, judging by the gentleman who spoke last on the other side of the House, that apparently is an all-sufficient reason for accepting it in this shape. On this side of the House, Mr. Chairman, we, perhaps, are not so docile with reference to the executive recommendations, and we venture to speer a question as to the purposes which may be subserved by the bill, although it may be very true that the Secretary of the Treasury does not mean to accomplish those purposes.
When we reach this point, then light falls upon the bill from the gentleman who last spoke [Mr. Bishop]. I take his speech in connection with the remark of the honorable gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. Millson] that this is no paper currency. The last gentleman who spoke said, "Oh, but it is needed in my region of country, where there is scarcely any currency; it will accomplish the purpose of regulating the exchanges of the country." I submit that there, at once, are two distinct admissions that this paper is put forth upon the country as a paper currency, for these are the two purposes which a paper currency is intended chiefly to subserve. With reference to the exchanges between different portions of this country, Mr. Chairman, you know very well -- much better than I do -- that ever since the destruction of the Bank of the United States in 1836, there has been always the greatest difficulty in finding any paper medium that would transfer funds from one portion of the country to another, except at a ruinous rate of discount. And gentlemen know, and the honorable gentleman who spoke last knows -- for he comes from that portion of the country where, of all others, the operations of exchange and paper money are most perfectly understood -- that the very moment the Government casts upon the country their $20,000,000 of Treasury notes, split up into sums of fifty dollars, they form the best medium of exchange existing in the country -- one of the chief purposes of paper currency -- and one of the greatest necessities of modern commerce. There is no time provided at which any man can be coerced to present any one of these notes at the Treasury. They may, if presented, be redeemed at or after the expiration of one year, within sixty days after the Treasury may be in a condition to redeem them, and shall have published that fact; then the interest is to cease. But, suppose the Treasury is ready within two months after a large proportion of them shall have been issued, there is still no law to coerce the return of the bills. The holder may very well be content to lose the interest upon the amount of a bill which can be used as the cheapest and best method of exchange for the next twenty years to come; and there is no provision of the bill that can at any time prevent the circulation of this medium for the purposes of exchange. I say, therefore, whether the gentlemen who drew this bill intended it or not, that they have accomplished exactly what the notes of the Bank of the United States accomplished, and exactly what Mr. Webster designed to accomplish by his scheme of a fiscal agent; that is, the issue of notes on the faith of the Government without being guarded, as Mr. Webster's scheme was guarded, by having five or ten million dollars of specie dedicated to meet the notes. It is an irredeemable currency; a currency, however, that will circulate upon the faith of the Government. So that the honorable gentlemen on the other side, intentionally or unintentionally, have themselves proposed a measure which they cannot limit, if it is adopted in the shape in which they have proposed it; making a perpetual irredeemable currency, the very material of exchange, and which, for that purpose, will always continue in circulation until they, by some mode or other, coerce its return.---[and your objection to this is what ? that the private banker middle man and a (private) bank of the United States is left out of it ? As you said, people are happy to take these Government promises to pay (without ever expecting to redeem them), to use them as medium of exchange in their daily transactions, even forfeiting the interest (wich they would earn) rather than take the bank promises to pay (for which they must PAY interest)]
Mr. Underwood. How can they coerce it ?
Mr. DAVIS, of Maryland. The gentleman from Kentucky asks how can they coerce it, and it is for gentlemen on the other side, who have now the responsibility of the Government, and who have been reading us divers lectures on the evils of a paper currency, to respond. Under the provisions of this bill, I say it cannot be controlled, for there is no provision saying that it shall be returned to the Government within any period of time whatever.
Well, Mr. Chairman, I do not care now to discuss what will be the effect upon the country of throwing upon it $20,000,000 of Government paper, which is really currency. Sir, it is a significant fact that the amount of the notes is limited to that precise point which the Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the United States recommend should be the limit of bank bills. That is a significant feature in connection with the fact that they are now prepared by the policy they have indicated, both in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury and in the message of the President to strike down the banks of the country by a bankrupt law, and then to have $20,000,000 of Government paper floating in currency, which it is beyond their power to call back, and which will instantly fill the void which they make, if they do what they say in the President's message.
I mean to cast no imputations. I am merely developing the legal results of the bill that has been, and is being, pressed here earnestly to a passage before gentlemen have had an opportunity of considering it. I appealed to the courtesy of my honorable friend at the head of the Committee of Ways and Means to allow me to ascertain and develop the legal consequences of this bill; yet, in his opinion, the public exigencies would not justify the indulgence. I say I am merely developing the legal consequences of that which, in its existing shape, gentlemen wanted to force to a final vote of the House. I am entitled, therefore, to cast upon them the responsibility of all difficulties connected with it.---[once again, where were you and your objection to paper currency in the past decade, during which private bankers issued $200 million of their notes ?!]
Mr. J. GLANCY JONES. Will the gentleman allow me to say that I did not want to cut off his speech, but merely to fix the hour at which the debate should close ?
Mr. DAVIS, of Maryland. Then, Mr. Chairman, for the present, and until the bankrupt law shall have been passed, striking down all the banks of the country that have seen fit -- in the exercise of a wise discretion, and following the best precedents of the greatest financial minds of this country and of England -- to relieve the country by suspending their specie payments, what is proposed ? Ere they shall have reached that point, and shall have stricken down the banks because, in a wise discretion, supported, almost without exception, by the business men of the country, (the most marked instance of it being in New York, where suspension was brought about deliberately by the merchants themselves, the great money masters of the country, who caused the very banks in which they themselves had their deposits to suspend, while the banks themselves, on a factitious idea of commercial honor, tried to avoid suspension,) they took the course to preserve the credit of the country and its whole commerce from being prostrated, they come in with this measure. The banks of the country suspended less than three months ago, and now they have more specie in their vaults than they ever had before, and have resumed specie payments. The operation of the general bankrupt law, had it then been in existence, would have been to have stricken down, at one blow, the half currency of the country; and I leave to gentlemen who know anything of commercial affairs, to say what condition we would have been in had this favorite plan been in operation.---[really, sir, the only example you can come up with is England and its best minds ?; anyhow, by suspending they did declare bankruptcy, they did declare that their notes were fraudulent, so why not make it official ? With your contorted logic you eloquently object to government paper to circulate as currency, at the same time you heartily recommend the circulation of bank paper as currency -- a circulation that is based on a fractional reserve, that if were redeemed would put the banks out of existence.]
But I do not mean now to discuss that. We have now a perfectly sound paper currency throughout the country, because the banks have not broken. Merchants have broken; but the banks have not broken. Their paper has not been returned on them. It is still in circulation. In New York it is now exchangeable in gold or silver at their counters, and therefore they are still in existence. At this point, the financial gentleman at the head of the Treasury Department of the Government desires to increase the amount of paper currency to the extent of $20,000,000 at his will. I leave to gentlemen, conversant with mercantile affairs, to say what the operation of that will be.
Mr. BISHOP. I want to ask the gentleman a question.
Mr. DAVIS, of Maryland. I prefer that the gentleman will allow me to proceed in the course of observation that I am making.
The effect, therefore, we cannot now, perhaps, entirely determine. If this measure add $20,000,000 to the existing paper currency of the country, then, I suppose, it makes paper currency so much the more in excess. If it drive out of that which is now in circulation, it substitutes the credit of the Government and the paper of the Government for the credit and the paper of the banks -- the paper of the banks being now redeemable in gold at their counters, and the paper of the Government not being redeemable at any time, so far as is indicated in the bill that they are attempting to pass. So that, in one breath, the honorable gentleman at the head of the Treasury Department talks about the danger of an inflated currency, and of an inflated credit, and in the very same breath desires to throw on the country $20,000,000 excess of material, which, he says, ought now to be condemned by the operation of a bankrupt law, and by the operation of every measure of legislation that can be obtained to limit the issue of paper currency. I submit that there is a grave inconsistency between the direct intents of this bill and the policy of the Government with respect to its financial matters.---[the banks have -- as we speak -- $200,000,000 of their notes out and have $50,000,000 in coin upon which they based this curcilation of promises to pay; pray tell how could they redeem their notes ?]
But, Mr. Chairman, we ought, I think, to inquire as to the effect of this measure. No one in doubts -- I certainly do not doubt -- that there is a grave necessity now, for the credit of the country, to come to the rescue of its depleted Treasury; and whenever the form of so assisting it shall be adjusted in a manner that I consider to be proper, I will then most cheerfully give it my sanction; and if it shall appear that money cannot now be raised by a loan, but may be raised by Treasury notes, then, with additional limitations of this bill, I will be ready to favor it.
But it is proper, when a loan is asked for on the part of the Government -- and that is the substance of this bill -- that at least Congress should be heard to put the question, "Why the necessity of a loan ?" While I am willing and free to vote all the means that Government may want for its purposes, I must be allowed to ask, Why is the Government going out again as a borrower ? There was money in the Treasury three months ago; why has not that money been kept there ? It was paid out, we are told, to relieve the necessities of the country. I presume that it has relieved the necessities of the country by transferring the necessities to the Government. I suppose that, if there was a necessity for specie in the country at that time, it scarcely comports with the theories of the other side of the House, or the relations of the Government to the country in its financial matters, to supply that currency. It is altogether a factitious necessity. They were driven to supply the currency because they had it locked up in the vaults. They had locked it up in the vaults because, owing to the system of tariff in the country, they had accumulated there more specie than the necessities of the Government demanded. Was it that people wanted money in the country, and that therefore the Government let it go ? If so, then I say that the Government is responsible, to the extent of the money in the Treasury under the sub-Treasury scheme, for the necessities of the country. I suppose that that responsibility lies likewise on the side of the House that now proposes this loan.
Was there any necessity, or any justification on the part of the Secretary of the Treasury for purchasing United States stocks at fifteen or sixteen per cent. premium ? It has been stated by a gentleman on that side of the House -- though I am inclined to think he was perhaps in error -- that it was purchased at nineteen, twenty, and even twenty-three per cent. premium. Was there any justification or necessity for that course of financial policy ? Was not the Treasury Department responsible to know the condition of affairs in the country ? Are they to be allowed to be so blind in financial matters as that, within three months, they can pass from a state where they can spend to relieve the country's necessities into a state of bankruptcy where they require a loan ? Was there any justification for purchasing in the stocks of the United States at this great loss to the Government ? Was specie wanted in the country ? Then those who had the stocks of the United States could have brought it elsewhere. It was unnecessary that the loss should fall upon the Government of the United States. Men could have sent these stocks abroad and brought into the country the specie for them at a premium far less burdensome to the affairs of the country.
It strikes me, therefore, that the course pursued by them has brought upon the country that which is now its necessity. It may be that, if the Secretary of the Treasury had pursued a different course, hereafter, a loan would have become necessary. It certainly would not have been necessary now. I do not think that this storm is so rapidly passing away as the Secretary of the Treasury seems to suppose. I do not regard it as a mere temporary disorder in the country. I apprehend that it has affected the business of the country to its very foundations. I apprehend that it has prostrated not merely the credit, but in a great measure the resources of those who have conducted the business of the country. I apprehend that the fall of prices of every species of produce indicates something more than a mere temporary derangement of the currency of the country. I apprehend, from the recent fall in the prices of cotton, that the cotton of the South will not, as the Secretary of the Treasury thinks, afford sufficient material for the exchanges of the foreign trade. I apprehend that prices will, in all probability, remain low; that business will continue dull; that imports will be small, and consumption smaller than the imports; and that the revenue will be less rather than greater.
We shall, in my judgment, be called on to pass more than one bill of relief for the Government. The Secretary of the Treasury has, in my opinion, been guilty of a great financial error; because he has taken the money which was in the Treasury, for the purpose of buying the Government securities at an enormous premium; when, if the money was wanted, it could have been obtained, on these securities, from abroad, which would have strengthened the hands of the business men, and added to the amount of specie in the country.
I hold that one cause of our necessity is our sub-Treasury scheme. It was that which brought, in part, upon the country the necessities which now trouble it, by withdrawing from the circulation of the country more gold than was required for the wants of the Government.
And another element which I suppose has contributed to the result at which we have arrived, is the speculative tendencies of the country, which have been pushed on by the tariff policy of the Government for the last four, five, or six years, until finally we are brought to another revulsion, analogous in cause, and to be cured in the same way, as the revulsion of 1837.
These are the observations, Mr. Chairman, which I desired to submit upon this bill. In closing, I have only to say, that I recognize the necessities of the Government, and I am not illiberal, I trust, nor have I ever been at any time, in my votes, to aid the Government in carrying out a most liberal policy in all its departments. And therefore, when this bill shall have been placed in a condition which I think will render it safe for the interests of the country, I shall most cheerfully give it my assent.
Mr. Florence. As it is now three o'clock, I do not desire, at this hour, to make any remarks upon the measure before us. I therefore move that the committee do now rise.
The motion was agreed to. The committee accordingly rose, and the Speaker having resumed the chair, Mr. PHELPS reported that the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union had, according to order, had the Union generally under consideration, and particularly the bill of the House (No. 4) to authorize the issue of Treasury notes, and had come to no resolution thereon.
1. James A. Stallworth (D)
2. Eli S. Shorter (D)
3. James F. Dowdell (D)
4. Sydenham Moore (D)
5. George S. Houston (D)
6. Williamson R. W. Cobb (D)
7. Jabez L.M. Curry (D)
Arkansas 1. Alfred B. Greenwood (D) 2. Edward A. Warren (D)
California Both representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. Joseph C. McKibbin (D) At-large. Charles L. Scott (D)
Connecticut 1. Ezra Clark, Jr. (R) 2. Samuel Arnold (D) 3. Sidney Dean (R) 4. William D. Bishop (D)
Delaware At-large. William G. Whiteley (D)
Florida At-large. George S. Hawkins (D)
Georgia 1. James L. Seward (D) 2. Martin J. Crawford (D) 3. Robert P. Trippe (A) 4. Lucius J. Gartrell (D) 5. Augustus R. Wright (D) 6. James Jackson (D) 7. Joshua Hill (A) 8. Alexander Stephens (D)
Illinois 1. Elihu B. Washburne (R) 2. John F. Farnsworth (R) 3. Owen Lovejoy (R)
4. William Kellogg (R)
(July 8, 1814 - December 20, 1872) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois and chief justice of the Nebraska Territory.
Born in Kelloggsville, Ohio, Kellogg attended the public schools. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Canton, Illinois. He served as member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1849 and 1850. He served as judge of the state circuit court, 1850-1855.
Kellogg was elected as a Republican to the 35th, 36th, and 37th Congresses (March 4, 1857-March 3, 1863). He moved to Peoria, Illinois, in 1864. He was appointed by President Andrew Johnson to the position of chief justice of Nebraska Territory in 1865, and served until 1867. He served as collector of internal revenue for the Peoria (Illinois) district 1867-1869. He moved to Mississippi in 1869, having been appointed to a judgeship under the prevailing provisional government. Upon the readmission of Mississippi to representation he was an unsuccessful candidate to the Forty-first Congress in 1869 and shortly afterward returned to Illinois.
5. Isaac N. Morris (D) 6. Thomas L. Harris (D) Charles D. Hodges (D) 7. Aaron Shaw (D) 8. Robert Smith (D) 9. Samuel S. Marshall (D)
Indiana 1. James Lockhart (D) William E. Niblack (D) 2. William H. English (D) 3. James Hughes (D) 4. James B. Foley (D) 5. David Kilgore (R) 6. James M. Gregg (D) 7. John G. Davis (D) 8. James Wilson (R) 9. Schuyler Colfax (R) 10. Samuel Brenton (R) Charles Case (R) 11. John U. Pettit (R)
Iowa 1. Samuel Curtis (R) 2. Timothy Davis (R)
Kentucky 1. Henry C. Burnett (D) 2. Samuel O. Peyton (D) 3. Warner L. Underwood (A) 4. Albert G. Talbott (D) 5. Joshua Jewitt (D) 6. John M. Elliott (D) 7. Humphrey Marshall (A) 8. James B. Clay (D) 9. John C. Mason (D) 10. John W. Stevenson (D)
Louisiana 1. George Eustis, Jr. (A) 2. Miles Taylor (D) 3. Thomas G. Davidson (D) 4. John M. Sandidge (D)
Maine 1. John M. Wood (R) 2. Charles J. Gilman (R) 3. Nehemiah Abbott (R) 4. Freeman H. Morse (R) 5. Israel Washburn, Jr. (R) 6. Stephen C. Foster (R)
Maryland 1. James A. Stewart (D) 2. James B. Ricaud (A) 3. J. Morrison Harris (A) 4. Henry Winter Davis (A) 5. Jacob M. Kunkel (D) 6. Thomas F. Bowie (D)
Massachusetts 1. Robert B. Hall (R) 2. James Buffinton (R) 3. William S. Damrell (R) 4. Linus B. Comins (R) 5. Anson Burlingame (R) 6. Timothy Davis (R) 7. Nathaniel P. Banks (R) Daniel W. Gooch (R) 8. Chauncey L. Knapp (R) 9. Eli Thayer (R) 10. Calvin C. Chaffee (R) 11. Henry L. Dawes (R)
Michigan 1. William A. Howard (R) 2. Henry Waldron (R) 3. David S. Walbridge (R) 4. De Witt C. Leach (R)
Minnesota Both representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket. At-large. James M. Cavanaugh (D), from May 11, 1858 At-large. William W. Phelps (D), from May 11, 1858
Mississippi 1. Lucius Q.C. Lamar (D) 2. Reuben Davis (D) 3. William Barksdale (D) 4. Otho R. Singleton (D) 5. John A. Quitman (D) John J. McRae (D)
Missouri 1. Francis P. Blair, Jr. (R) 2. Thomas L. Anderson (A) 3. John B. Clark (D), from December 7, 1857 4. James Craig (D) 5. Samuel H. Woodson (A) 6. John S. Phelps (D) 7. Samuel Caruthers (D)
New Hampshire 1. James Pike (R) 2. Mason Tappan (R) 3. Aaron H. Cragin (R)
New Jersey 1. Isaiah D. Clawson (R) 2. George R. Robbins (R) 3. Garnett Adrain (D) 4. John Huyler (D) 5. Jacob R. Wortendyke (D)
1. John A. Searing (D) 2. George Taylor (D) 3. Daniel Sickles (D) 4. John Kelly (D) Thomas J. Barr (ID) 5. William B. Maclay (D) 6. John Cochrane (D) 7. Elijah Ward (D) 8. Horace F. Clark (D) 9. John B. Haskin (D) 10. Ambrose S. Murray (R) 11. William F. Russell (D) 12. John Thompson (R) 13. Abram B. Olin (R) 14. Erastus Corning (D) 15. Edward Dodd (R) 16. George W. Palmer (R) 17. Francis E. Spinner (R) 18. Clark B. Cochrane (R) 19. Oliver A. Morse (R) 20. Orsamus B. Matteson (R) 21. Henry Bennett (R) 22. Henry C. Goodwin (R) 23. Charles B. Hoard (R) 24. Amos P. Granger (R) 25. Edwin B. Morgan (R) 26. Emory B. Pottle (R) 27. John M. Parker (R) 28. William H. Kelsey (R) 29. Samuel G. Andrews (R) 30. Judson W. Sherman (R) 31. Silas M. Burroughs (R) 32. Israel T. Hatch (D) 33. Reuben Fenton (R)
1. Henry M. Shaw (D) 2. Thomas H. Ruffin (D) 3. Warren Winslow (D) 4. Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (D) 5. John A. Gilmer (A) 6. Alfred M. Scales (D) 7. F. Burton Craige (D) 8. Thomas L. Clingman (D) Zebulon B. Vance (A)
George H. Pendleton (D)
PENDLETON, George Hunt, (1825-1889)
(son of Nathanael Greene Pendleton), a Representative and a Senator from Ohio; born in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 19, 1825; attended the local schools and Cincinnati College; attended Heidelberg University, Germany; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1847 and commenced practice in Cincinnati; member, State senate 1854-1856; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1854 to the 34th Congress; elected as a Democrat to the 35th and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1857-March 3, 1865); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1864 to the 39th Congress; one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1862 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against Judge West H. Humphreys; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for vice president in 1864; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1866 to the 40th Congress; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor of Ohio in 1869; president of the Kentucky Central Railroad 1869-1879; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1879, to March 3, 1885; unsuccessful candidate for renomination; Democratic onference Chairman 1881-1885; appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Germany in 1885, and served until his death in Brussels, Belgium, November 24, 1889; interment in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.
2. William S. Groesbeck (D) 3. Lewis D. Campbell (R) Clement Vallandigham (D) 4. Matthias H. Nichols (R) 5. Richard Mott (R) 6. Joseph R. Cockerill (D) 7. Aaron Harlan (R) 8. Benjamin Stanton (R) 9. Lawrence W. Hall (D) 10. Joseph Miller (D) 11. Valentine B. Horton (R) 12. Samuel S. Cox (D)
13. John Sherman (May 10, 1823 -- October 22, 1900) (R)
studied law, admitted to the bar in 1844
As a young attorney, Sherman had started out as a railroad counsel; in 1848, he was attorney for the Vermilion and Ashland Railroad
extensive railroad stockholder
Senator Sherman, in fact, was one of the principal stockholders in the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad — later a constituent part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system
born in Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio; attended the common schools and an academy in Ohio; left school to work as an engineer on canal projects; moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1853; elected as a Republican to the 34th and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1855, to March 21, 1861, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (36th Congress); elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1861 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Salmon P. Chase; reelected in 1866 and 1872 and served from March 21, 1861, until his resignation on March 8, 1877; chairman, Committee on Agriculture (1863-67), Committee on Finance (1863-65, 1867-77); appointed Secretary of the Treasury in the Cabinet of President Rutherford Hayes in March 1877, and served until March 1881; again elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1881 in the place of James A. Garfield, who had been elected President of the United States; reelected in 1886 and 1892 and served from March 4, 1881, until his resignation on March 4, 1897; Republican Conference chairman (1884-1885, 1891-1897); President pro tempore (1885-1887); chairman, Committee on the Library (47th through 49th Congresses), Committee on Foreign Relations (49th through 52nd Congresses, 54th Congress); appointed Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President William McKinley and served from March 1897, until his resignation in April 1898; retired to private life; died in Washington
14. Philemon Bliss (R) 15. Joseph Burns (D) 16. Cydnor B. Tompkins (R) 17. William Lawrence (D) --later (R)
18. Benjamin F. Leiter (R) 19. Edward Wade (R) 20. Joshua R. Giddings (R) 21. John Bingham (R)
Oregon At-large. La Fayette Grover (D), from February 14, 1859
Thomas B. Florence (D) 2. Edward Joy Morris (R) 3. James Landy (D) 4. Henry M. Phillips (D) 5. Owen Jones (D) 6. John Hickman (D) 7. Henry Chapman (D)
8. Jehu Glancey Jones (October 7, 1811 -- March 24, 1878) (D)
studied theology and law, was admitted to the bar in Georgia in 1841
born in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, Pa.; attended Kenyon College; was ordained to the ministry of the Episcopal Church in 1835 and withdrew in 1841; district attorney for Berks County 1847-1849; delegate to the Democratic State conventions in 1848, 1849, and 1855, and served as president in 1855; delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1848 and 1856 and served as vice president in 1848; elected as a Democrat to the 32nd Congress (March 4, 1851 - March 3, 1853); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1852; elected to the 33rd Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Henry A. Muhlenberg; re-elected to the 34th and 35th Congresses and served from February 4, 1854, to October 30, 1858, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (35th Congress); unsuccessful candidate for election in 1858 to the 36th Congress; appointed Minister to Austria by President Buchanan December 7, 1858, and served from December 15, 1858, to November 14, 1861; resumed the practice of law; died in Reading, Pa.
William H. Keim (R) 9. Anthony E. Roberts (R) 10. John C. Kunkel (R) 11. William L. Dewart (D) 12. John G. Montgomery (D) Paul Leidy (D) 13. William H. Dimmick (D) 14. Galusha A. Grow (R) 15. Allison White (D) 16. John A. Ahl (D) 17. Wilson Reilly (D) 18. John R. Edie (R) 19. John Covode (R) 20. William Montgomery (D) 21. David Ritchie (R) 22. Samuel A. Purviance (R) 23. William Stewart (R) 24. James L. Gillis (D) 25. John Dick (R)
1. Nathaniel B. Durfee (R) 2. William D. Brayton (R)
1. John McQueen (D) 2. William P. Miles (D) 3. Laurence M. Keitt (D) 4. Milledge L. Bonham (D) 5. James L. Orr (D) 6. William W. Boyce (D)
1. Albert G. Watkins (D) 2. Horace Maynard (A) 3. Samuel A. Smith (D) 4. John H. Savage (D) 5. Charles Ready (A) 6. George W. Jones (D) 7. John V. Wright (D) 8. Felix Zollicoffer (A) 9. John D.C. Atkins (D) 10. William T. Avery (D)
Texas 1. John H. Reagan (D) 2. Guy M. Bryan (D)
Vermont 1. Eliakim P. Walton (R) 2. Justin S. Morrill (R) 3. Homer E. Royce (R)
Virginia 1. Muscoe R. H. Garnett (D) 2. John S. Millson (D) 3. John Caskie (D) 4. William Goode (D) 5. Thomas S. Bocock (D) 6. Paulus Powell (D) 7. William Smith (D) 8. Charles J. Faulkner (D)
9. John Letcher (D)
born in Lexington, Rockbridge County, Va., March 29, 1813; attended private rural schools and Randolph-Macon College; was graduated from Washington Academy (now Washington and Lee University), Lexington, Va., in 1833; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Lexington, Va., in 1839; editor of the Valley Star from 1840 to 1850; delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1850; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-second and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1851-March 3, 1859); was not a candidate for renomination in 1858, having become a candidate for Governor; Governor of Virginia 1860-1864; prominent in the organization of the peace convention that met in Washington, D.C., February 8, 1861, in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war; discouraged secession, but was active in sustaining the ordinance passed by Virginia April 17, 1861; after the war and the expiration of his term as Governor resumed the practice of law in Lexington; member of the State house of delegates 1875-1877; member of the board of visitors of the Virginia Military Institute 1866-1880 and served as president of the board for ten years; again resumed the practice of law in Lexington, Va., where he died on January 26, 1884;
10. Sherrard Clemens (D) 11. Albert G. Jenkins (D) 12. Henry A. Edmundson (D) 13. George W. Hopkins (D)
Wisconsin 1. John F. Potter (R) 2. Cadwallader C. Washburn (R) 3. Charles Billinghurst (R)
Non-voting members Kansas Territory. Marcus J. Parrott (R)
Minnesota Territory. William W. Kingsbury (D), until May 11, 1858
Nebraska Territory. Fenner Ferguson (D)
New Mexico Territory. Miguel A. Otero (D)
Oregon Territory. Joseph Lane (D), until February 14, 1859
Utah Territory. John M. Bernhisel
Washington Territory. Isaac Stevens (D)