PUBLIC ACTS OF THE FORTY-FIRST CONGRESS
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That in order to remove any doubt as to the purpose of the government to discharge all just obligations to the public creditors, and to settle conflicting questions and interpretations of the laws by virtue of which such obligations have been contracted, it is hereby provided and declared that the faith of the United States is solemnly pledged to the payment in coin or its equivalent of all the obligations of the United States not bearing interest, known as United States notes, and of all the interest-bearing obligations of the United States, except in cases where the law authorizing the issue of any such obligation has expressly provided that the same may be paid in lawful money or other currency than gold and silver. But none of said interest-bearing obligations not already due shall be redeemed or paid before maturity unless at such time United States notes shall be convertible into coin at the option of the holder, or unless at such time bonds of the United States bearing a lower rate of interest than the bonds to be redeemed can be sold at par in coin. And the United States also solemnly pledges its faith to make provision at the earliest practicable period for the redemption of the United States notes in coin.
Mr. Schenck. [Robert Cumming Schenck (1809-1890), Ohio, (R)] I introduce a bill (H.R. No. 7) to strengthen the public credit and relating to contracts for the payment of coin. I propose to demand the previous question upon it; but I will give way for one or two amendments which I understand gentlemen desire to offer.
The bill was read a first and second time.
The bill was read in full, as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United Sates of America in Congress assembled That in order to remove any doubt as to the purpose of the Government to discharge all just obligations to the Public creditors, and to settle conflicting questions and interpretations of the laws by virtue of Which such obligations have been contracted, it is hereby provided and declared that the faith of the United States is solemnly pledged to the payment in coin or its equivalent of all the obligations of the United States not bearing interest, known as United States notes, and of all the interest-bearing obligations of the United States, except in cases where the law authorizing the issue of any such obligation has expressly provided that the same may be paid in lawful money or other currency than gold and silver; but none of said interest-bearing obligations not already due shall be redeemed or paid before maturity unless at such time United States notes shall be convertible into coin at the option of the holder, or unless at such time bonds of the United States bearing a lower rate of interest than the bonds to be redeemed can be sold at par in coin. And the United States also solemnly pledges its faith to make provision at the earliest practicable period for the redemption of the United States notes in coin.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That any contract hereafter made specifically payable in coin, and the consideration of which may be a loan of coin, or a sale of property, or the rendering of labor or service of any kind, the price of which as carried into the contract may have been adjusted on the basis of the coin value thereof at the time of such sale, or of the rendering of such service or labor, shall be legal and valid, and may be enforced according to its terms; and on the trial of a suit brought for the enforcement of any such contract proof of the real consideration may be given.
Mr. SCHENCK. I have agreed to allow the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. ALLISON] to move to strike out the second section of the bill. I have also agreed to allow the gentleman from Maine [Mr. Peters] to move to insert the word "written" before "contract" in the second section.
Mr. Woodward. I ask the gentleman from Ohio to allow me a few minutes. When the bill was before the House during the last Congress I had no opportunity to express my views.
The SPEAKER. The Chair would remind the gentleman from Pennsylvania that debate is not in order.
Mr. SCHENCK. I should like exceedingly to make an explanation of a few minutes' length, but debate is not in order.
Mr. Ingersoll. I rise to a parliamentary question. Is it not in order to move the reference of this bill to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, and would it not be agreeable to the late chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means to fix a time for debate on this bill ? It is a very important measure, and I make that suggestion.
Mr. Schenck. That would be very well if the House had not just fixed a time for adjournment, showing a disposition not to debate anything.
Mr. Ingersoll. When it is in order I shall move the reference of the bill to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.
The Speaker. Should the previous question not be sustained on the passage of the bill the gentleman will be recognized to make that motion. The gentleman from Maine [Mr. PETERS] is not here to make the motion indicated by the gentleman from Ohio.
Mr. ALLISON. I move to strike out the second section of the bill.
Mr. SCHENCK. Do I understand that the gentleman from Maine [Mr. PETERS] avails himself of the permission to move to insert the word "written?"
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Maine does not appear to be in his seat.
Mr. BURR. If the gentleman will give we the floor I will move to lay the whole thing on the table, and demand the yeas and nays upon it.
Mr. Schenck. I cannot give way for any such purpose. Will it be in order for me to state that the bill which I now introduce is precisely the bill as it passed both Houses last session, or would that be in the nature of debate ?
The SPEAKER. That is in the nature of debate.
Mr. SCHENCK. Then I will not state it; but that is the fact. [Laughter.]
The SPEAKER. If the gentleman leaves the bill open for debate it must go over under the rules.
Mr. SCHENCK. I move the previous question.
Mr. BURR and Mr. HOLMAN moved that the bill and amendments be laid on the table.
Mr. Schenck. This is the bill which passed both Houses and was pocketed by Andrew Johnson.
Mr. Holman. I call for the yeas and nays on the motion to lay the bill on the table.
Mr. BUTLER, of Massachusetts. I rise to a point of order.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman will state his point of order.
Mr. BUTLER, of Massachusetts. My point of order is this: the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Schenck] asked the Chair if it would be in the nature of debate for him to state that this bill passed the House of the last Congress. The Chair ruled that such a statement would be in the nature of debate. After that ruling of the Chair the gentleman from Ohio proceeded to make that statement. My point of order is this: the gentleman having debated his bill it should go over under the rule.
The SPEAKER. The point of order, even if good, is made too late. The question is now upon the motion to lay the bill on the table, upon which the yeas and nays have been called. The yeas and nays were ordered.
The question was taken; and it was decided in the negative --yeas 54, nays 85, not voting 55; as follows:
YEAS --Messrs. Archer, Beatty, Beck, Biggs, Bird, Bowen, Burr, Benjamin F. Butler, Amasa Cobb, Coburn, Crebs, Deweese, Dickinson, Eldridge, Getz, Gilfillan, Golladay, Haldeman, Hamill, Hawkins, Holman, Hopkins, Ingersoll, Johnson, Thomas L. Jones, Kerr, Knott, Marshall, Mayham, McCormick, McNeely, Moffet, Mungen, Niblack, Orth, Reading, Reeves, Rice, Shanks, Joseph S. Smith, Stiles, Stone, Strader, Swann, Sweeney, Taffe, Trimble, Tyner, Van Trump, Williams, Eugene M. Wilson, John T. Wilson, Winchester, and Woodward --54.
NAYS-- Messrs. Allison, Ambler, Ames, Armstrong, Arnell, Asper, Bailey, Banks, Beaman, Benjamin Bennett, Bingham, Blair, Boles, Buffinton, Burdett, Roderick R. Butler, Cake, Cessna, Churchill, Clinton L. Cobb, Cook, Conger, Cowles, Cullom, Davis, Dawes, Donley, Dyer, Ferriss, Ferry, Finkelnburg, Fisher, Fitch, Garfield, Hale, Heaton, Hoag, Hear, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Jenckes, Alexander H. Jones, Judd, Julian, Kelsey, Ketcham, Laflin, Lash, Logan, Lynch, Mercur, William Moore, Negley, O'Neill, Packard, Paine, Phelps, Poland, Pomeroy, Prosser, Roots, Sanford, Sargent, Sawyer, Schenck, Scofield, John A. Smith, Worthington C. Smith, Stevenson, Stokes, Stoughton, Strickland, Tanner, Tillman, Twichell, Upson, Van Horn, Ward, Cadwalader C. Washburn, Welker, Wheeler, Wilkinson, Willard, and Winans --85.
NOT VOTING-- Messrs. Adams, Axtell, Boutwell, Boyd, Brooks, Calkin, Clarke, Cleveland, Dickey, Dixon, Dockery, Duval, Farnsworth, Fox, Greene, Griswold, Haight, Hambleton, Hamilton, Hawley, Hay, Hill, Kelley, Knapp, Lawrence, Loughridge, Maynard, McCarthy, McCrary, McGrew, Eliakim H. Moore, Jesse H. Samuel P. Morrill, Moore, Morgan, Daniel J. Morrell, Morrissey, Packer, Palmer, Peters, Potter, Randall Rogers, Schumaker, Sheldon, Slocum, William J. Smith, William Smyth, Townsend, Van Auken, Voorhees, William B. Washburn, Wells, Whittemore, Witcher and Wood--55.
So the motion to lay on the table was not agreed to.
The question was upon seconding the previous question.
The previous question was seconded and the main question ordered.
The first question was upon the motion of Mr. Allison to strike out the second section of the bill.
Mr. SCHENCK. Upon that question I call for the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
The question was taken; and it was decided in the affirmative -- yeas 86, nays 57, not voting 51; as follows:
YEAS-- Messrs. Allison, Ames, Archer Bailey, Beaman, Beatty, Beck, Biggs, Bingham, Bird, Bowen, Burr, Benjamin F. Butler, Cake, Cessna, Amasa Cobb, Coburn, Cullom, Davis, Deweese, Dickinson, Dyer, Eldridge, Farnsworth, Ferriss, Ferry, Fitch, Getz, Golladay, Haldeman, Hale, Hamill, Hawkins, Hay, Hoag, Holman, Hooper, Hopkins, Ingersoll, Jenckes, Thomas L. Jones, Kelsey, Kerr, Knapp, Knott, Lawrence, Loughridge, Lynch, Marshall, Mayham, McCormick, McNeely, Moffet, Jesse H. Moore, Samuel P. Morrill, Mungen, Niblack, Orth, Reading, Sawyer, Scofield, Shanks, Worthington C. Smith, Stevenson, Stiles, Stove, Stoughton, Strader, Swann, Sweeney, Taffe, Trimble, Tyner, Van Horn. William B. Washburn , Welker, Wells, Wilkinson, Willard, Williams, Eugene M. Wilson, John T. Wilson, Winans, Winchester, Witcher, and Woodward --86.
NAYS-- Messrs. Armstrong, Asper, Axtell, Banks, Benjamin, Bennett, Blair, Boles, Boyd, Buffinton, Burdett, Roderick R. Butler, Churchill, Clinton L. Cobb, Conger, Cowles, Dawes, Dackery, Donley, Finkelnburg, Fisher, Garfield, Gilfillan, Heaton, Hoar, Johnson, Alexander H. Jones, Judd, Julian, Ketcham, Luflin, Lash, Logan, McGrew, Mercur, William Moore, O'Neill, Packard, Paine, Palmer, Poland Pomeroy, Prosser, Roots, Sanford, Sargeant, Schenck, Sheldon, John A. Smith, Stokes, Strickland, Tanner, Twichell, Ward, Cudwalader C. Washburn, Wheeler, and Whittemore --57.
NOT VOTING-- Messrs. Adams, Ambler, Arnell, Boutwell, Brooks, Calkin, Clarke, Cleveland, Cook, Crebs, Dickey, Dixon, Duval, Fox, Greene, Griswold, Haight, Hambleton, Hamilton, Hawley, Pill, Hotchkiss, Kelley, Maynard, McCarthy, McCrary, Eliakim H. Moore, Morgan, Daniel J, Morrell, Morrissey, Negley, Packer, Peters, Phelps, Putter, Randall, Reeve, Rice, Rogers, Schumaker, Slocum, Joseph S. Smith, William J. Smith, William Smyth, Tillman, Townsend, Upson, Van Auken, Van Trump, Voorhees, and Wood ---51.
So the second section was struck out.
The question recurred an ordering the bill as amended to be engrossed and read the third time.
Mr. SCHENCK. I call for the yeas and nays. The yeas and nays were ordered.
Mr. Eldridge. I call for the reading of the engrossed bill.
The SPEAKER. The bill has not yet been ordered to be engrossed. The question is now on ordering it to be engrossed and read the third time.
The question was taken; and it was decided in the affirmative -- yeas 93, nays 48, not voting 53; as follows:
YEAS-- Messrs. Allison, Ambler, Armstrong, Arnell, Asper, Axtell, Bailey, Banks, Beaman, Benjamin, Bennett, Bingham, Blair, Botes, Bowen, Bayd, Buffinton, Burdett, Cessna, Churchill, Clinton L. Cobb, Cook, Conger, Cultom, Davis, Dawes, Donley, Duval, Dyer, Farnsworth, Ferriss, Ferry, Finkelnburg, Fisher, Fitch, Garfield, Gilffilan, Hole, Hawley, Heaton, Hoar, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Alexander H. Jones, Judd, Julian, Kelsey, Ketcham, Knapp, Laflin, Lash, Lawrence, Logan, Lynch, McCrary, McGrew, Mercur, William Moore, Negley, O'Neill, Packer, Paine, Phelps, Poland, Pomeroy, Prosser, Roots, Sanford, Sargent, Sawyer, Schenck, Scofield, Sheldon, John A. Smith, Worthington C. Smith, Stokes, Stoughton, Striekland, Tanner, Tillman Twichell, Upson, Van Horn, Ward, Cadwalader C. Washburn, William B. Washburn, Welker, Wheeler, Whittemore, Wilkinson, Willard, Williams, and Winans --93.
NAYS-- Messrs. Archer, Beatty, Beck, Biggs, Bird, Burr, Roderick R. Butler, Amasa Cobb, Crebs, Deweese, Dickinson, Dockery, Eldridge, Getz, Golladay, Hamill, Hawkins, Hoag, Holman, Hopkins, Ingersoll, Johnson, Thomas L. Jones, Kerr, Knott, Marshall, Mayham, McNeely, Mungen, Niblack, Orth, Reeves, Rice, Shanks, Joseph S. Smith Stiles, Stone, Strader, Swann, Sweeney, Trimble, Tyner, Van Trump, Wells, Eugene M. Wilson, John T. Wilson, Winchester, and Woodward --48.
NOT VOTING-- Messrs. Adams, Ames, Boutwell, Brooks, Benjamin F. Butler, Cake, Calkin, Clarke, Cleveland, Coburn, Cowles, Dickey, Dixon, Fox , Greene, Griswold, Haight, Haldeman, Humbleton, Hamilton, Hay, Hill, Jenckes, Kelley, Loughridge, Maynard, McCarthy, McCormick, Moffet, Eliakim H. Moore, Jesse H. Moore, Morgan, Daniel J. Morrell, Samuet P. Morrill, Morrissey, Packard, Palmer, Peters, Potter, Randall, Reading, Rogers, Schumaker, Slocum, William J. Smith, William Smyth, Stevenson, Tuffe, Townsend, Van Auken, Voorhees, Witcher, and Wood --53.
So the bill was ordered to be engrossed and read the third time.
Being engrossed, it was accordingly read the third time.
Mr. SCHENCK. I demand the previous question on the passage of the bill.
The previous question was seconded the main question ordered.
Mr. Jones, of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, is it not now in order to move to refer the bill ?
The SPEAKER. It is not. The previous question is operating.
Mr. WOODWARD. I call for the yeas and nays on the passage of the bill.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
The question was taken; and it was decided in the affirmative-- yeas 98, nays 47, not voting 49; as follows:
YEAS-- Messrs. Allison, Ambler, Ames, Armstrong, Arnell, Asper, Axtell, Bailey, Banks, Beaman, Benjamin, Bennett, Bingham, Blair, Boles, Boyd, Buffinton, Burdett, Cessna, Churchill, Clinton L. Cobb, Cook, Conger, Cowles, Cullom, Dawes, Donley, Duval, Dyer, Farnsworth, Ferriss, Thomas Ferry, Finkelnburg, Fisher, Fitch, James Garfield, Gilfillan, Hale, Hawley, Heaton, Hoar, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Jenckes, Alexander H. Jones, Judd, Julian, Kelsey, Ketcham, Knapp, Laflin, Lash, William Lawrence (R), Lynch, Maynard, McCrary, McGrew, Mercur, Jesse H. Moore, William Moore, Samuel P. Morrill, Negley, O'Neill, Packard, Paine, Palmer, Phelps, Poland, Pomeroy, Prosser, Roots, Sanford, Sargent, Sawyer, Schenck, Scofield, Sheldon, John A. Smith, Worthington C. Smith, William Smyth, Stokes, Stoughton, Strickland, Tanner, Tillman, Twichell, Upson, Van Horn, Ward, Cadwalader C. Washburn, William B. Washburn, Welker, Wheeler, Whittemore, Wilkinson, Willard, Williams, and Winans --98.
NAYS-- Messrs. Archer, Beatty, Beck, Biggs, Bird, Burr, Benjamin F. Butler, Roderick B. Butler, Amasa Cobb, Coburn, Crebs, Deweese, Dickinson, Eldridge, Getz, Golladay, Hawkins, Holman, Hopkins, Johnson, Thomas L. Jones, Kerr, Knott, Marshall, Mayham, McCormick, McNeely, Moffett, Mungen, Niblack, Orth, Reading, Reeves, Rice, Shanks, Joseph S. Smith, Stiles, Stone, Strader, Sweeney, Taffe, Trimble, Tyner, Van Trump, John T. Wilson, Winchester, and Woodward --47.
NOT VOTING-- Messrs. Adams, Boutwell, Bowen, Brooks, Cake, Catkin, Clarke, Cleveland, Davis, Dickey, Dixon, Dockery, Fox, Greene, Griswold, Haight, Haldeman, Hambleton, Hamill, Hamilton, Hay, Hill, Hoag, Ingersoll, Pig Iron Kelley, Black Jack Logan, Loughridge, McCarthy, Eliakim H. Moore, Morgan, Daniel J. Morrell, Morrissey, Packer, Peters, Potter, Randall, Rogers, Roots, Schumaker, Slocum, William J. Smith, Stevenson, Swann, Townsend, Van Auken, Voorhees, Wells, Eugene M. Wilson, Witcher, and Wood --49.
So the bill was passed.
Mr. SCHENCK moved to reconsider the vote just taken; and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table.
The latter motion was agreed to.
Mr. SCHENCK. I move to amend the title of the bill so it shall read "An act to strengthen the public credit of the United States;" and on that motion I demand the previous question.
Mr. BUTLER, of Massachusetts. Is it in order to move an amendment to the amendment ? I do not think the bill does strengthen the public credit.
The SPEAKER. It will be in order if the previous question be not seconded.
The House divided; and there were-- ayes 70, noes 50.
So the previous question was seconded. The main question was then ordered.
The amendment to the title of the bill was then agreed to.
Mr. SCHENCK moved to reconsider the vote by which the title of the bill was amended; and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table.
The latter motion was agreed to.
The message also announced that the House had passed the following bill and joint resolution, in which it requested the concurrence of the Senate:
A bill (H.R. No. 7) to strengthen the public credit; and
A joint resolution (H.R. No. 6) for the protection of the interests of the United States in the Union Pacific Railroad Company, and for other purposes.
Mr. Sherman. The bill that has just come from the House of Representatives is in the same words as the first section of the bill which is now under consideration [S. No. 56], and I hope that by general consent it will be substituted in place of the present bill, so that we shall not go through the form of passing the same bill by the two Houses in different form.
The VICE PRESIDENT. If there be no objection the House bill, the Senator from Ohio stating that it is in exactly the same language with the bill as it now stands in Committee of the Whole, will be substituted for the bill before the Senate.
Mr. Sherman. I ask the Secretary to verify it to see if they compare are exactly.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The bill (H.R. No. 7) to strengthen the public credit will be considered as read the first and second time; and it is before the Senate as in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. DAVIS. [Garrett Davis (September 10, 1801 – September 22, 1872)] I offer an amendment to the bill, which I send to the Chair.
The Chief Clerk read the amendment, which was to strike out all after the enacting clause of the bill and to insert:
That the just and equitable measure of the obligation of the United States upon their outstanding bonds, which were issued and sold as a means of borrowing money, is the value at the time in gold and silver coin of the paper currency advanced and paid to the Government on those bonds.
Mr. DAVIS. Mr. President, I do not propose to discuss at any length the measure under consideration. I said essentially all that I desire to say upon the bill when the subject was before the Senate at the late session. I however propose the amendment which has just been reported from the Secretary's table.
The measure that is now under consideration is not a subject of legislation. It is not in the nature of a law. It proposes no action. It is not an enactment at all. It is simply the enunciation of a principle or a sentiment, or of principles and sentiments. That is one aspect of the subject. Another aspect of the measure is that it proposes to give a construction to laws heretofore passed by Congress in relation to this subject.
Now, sir, the bonds of the United States were issued by authority of laws passed by Congress. Those laws were passed some years since. The measure under consideration does not propose to modify those laws by the enactment of another law, but it proposes to give a construction to laws previously enacted and under which the bonds referred to were issued. In that aspect it seems to me to be outside of the pale of legitimate legislation. If the laws under which these bonds were issued were defective and needed modification and reform, and the measure now under consideration was in the nature of supplemental legislation. I could conceive of the seeming propriety of the measure that is now before the Senate; but when this measure proposes no enactment whatever, no supplemental or modified force or effect to the previous legislation of Congress that regulated the subject of these bonds, it seems to me to be simply in the nature of giving construction to those previous laws; and in that respect, in my opinion, it trenches upon what are the proper functions of another department of the Government, the judiciary.
By what authority or by what right does Congress give construction to its previous laws ? We all admit, and it is every day's practice, that legislation may be modified by subsequent acts of Congress; but when the effort is not to legislate, not to enact a law, but simply to give construction and interpretation to the meaning of previous laws, to my mind it seems to be a palpable departure from the propriety and from the power of the Senate and of Congress. It seems to me to be an invasion of the constitutional and peculiar province of the courts; and in that point of view I think this measure ought to fail. It ought not to be passed by Congress because it is not, in fact, in essence, legislation at all, but is simply the usurpation by Congress of a judicial function in attempting to give construction and interpretation to the laws to which it refers.
If it had been presented, not as an enactment, but as a resolution embodying a principle, embodying a sentiment, and not attempting to interfere with the construction of the law which belongs to another department of the Government, I would have been ready to admit its legitimacy and its propriety. I think it ought to have been presented in that form. It is in substance nothing else than the presentation of a principle or a sentiment to the consideration of the Senate, which usually comes up in the form, not of a law, but of a resolution, either separate or joint. I therefore so treat it; and in the amendment which I offer I propose to give it the form of a resolution, not of a law; and in the form of a resolution expressing a principle I propose to assert that the responsibility of the United States upon the bonds which now form the substance of the public debt is, according to equity and law and reason, simply to pay the value in gold and silver of the amount of the bonds at the time they were issued and sold by the Government.
Sir, we all know what the object was in Congress passing laws to authorize the issue of these bonds. It was simply to borrow money. It was simply to organize a form of loan by which money might be borrowed. We all know, furthermore, that after the first issue of legal-tender notes, after the laws authorizing these bonds had passed and the bonds were offered for sale in the market, they could not be sold even for legal-tender notes at the rate of discount in gold at which those legal-tender notes were then passing. In other words, the legal-tender notes would not float the bonds at the then discount of legal-tender notes, and in order to remedy that difficulty Congress successively authorized the issue of two large batches of legal-tender notes in addition.
The desired effect was produced; the legal-tender notes were still further depreciated in the market; and this induced capitalists who held the legal-tender notes to come forward and invest them in bonds by advancing the amount in legal-tender notes upon the bonds of the Government. It was then not only a mere borrowing of money by the Government of the United States, but it was contemplated and intended at the time that the money borrowed should not be gold and silver coin, because it was impracticable then to borrow money in coin within the United States, unless at a very heavy discount, on the bonds of the United States. The object was to avoid a heavy discount seemingly in the sale of the bonds by requiring them to be sold either for gold or silver, or to be sold for legal-tender notes until those legal-tender notes had been depreciated largely by two successive issues of additional legal-tender notes.
The operation, then, was simply the borrowing of so much money from the individuals who purchased the bonds, not in gold and silver, but in depreciated paper currency called legal-tender notes. The proposition embodied by my amendment is that upon such a transaction as that the Government is not bound by any principles of equity or law to respond in the nominal amount of the bonds by the payment of that nominal amount in gold and silver: that everything which equity and justice would require the United States to pay and Congress to pass laws to authorize to be paid would be simply the value in gold and silver of the depreciated paper currency which was loaned to the United States by the bond-holders at the time the loan was made. That is a position so just that no man, I think, can successfully controvert it.
I propose to apply to this subject, as between the bondholders and the Government, precisely the same rules of law and equity that would be applied by every court of chancery in the world to individuals in relation to similar transactions. Suppose, now, one of our merchant princes --Mr. Stewart-- had borrowed $100,000,000 from the Rothschilds, and had executed his note to that firm for $100,000,000, and the money that he received upon this loaning and borrowing instead of being in gold and silver was in greenbacks, precisely the same medium and the same depreciated paper which the Government received from the men to whom it sold its bonds; and upon the falling due of the note or bond which Stewart had executed for $100,000,000, payable merely by the word "dollars," without any expression whatever that the debt was to be paid in currency, Stewart should not make payment of the money, what would follow ? Suppose the Rothschilds sued him in any court of the United States, Federal or State, and obtained judgment for the nominal amount of $100,000,000, it would be the right of Stewart to go in to a court of chancery and there investigate and litigate the transaction out of which this bond originated, and, upon its appearing by proof or by the admissions of the Rothschilds that the transaction was simply a loaning by them of $100,000,000 to Stewart in legal-tender notes, what would be the judgment and decree of the chancellor between those individuals ? He would ascertain the value of the legal-tender notes at the time of their loan in gold and silver, and he would render a judgment for the amount of that value. If it was in proof in such a suit or was admitted by the parties that the legal-tender notes at the time of the loan were worth but fifty or sixty cents in the dollar, the chancellor would give his judgment and decree in favor of the obligee in the bond for the fifty or sixty million dollars only and that would be a full and complete satisfaction and discharge of the obligation of Stewart.
Sir, that is the universal principle of law that controls the action of all equity courts between individuals. Wherever one man borrows from another money, not gold and silver coin, in, paper, and that paper is at a depreciation at the time of the loan, although he may execute his note payable in dollars and may recite in addition that the payment shall be in gold and silver dollars, that would not enable the parties to evade the laws of usury. The paper would be as much subject to the laws of usury and to the judgment which the chancellor universally propounds in all cases of usury as though the bond had expressed upon its face that the consideration was $100,000, if you please, in legal-tender notes, and there was recited an obligation to return the money in dollars of gold and silver coin. The fact that the paper was expressive in one case of the transaction and detailed exactly and correctly how it had taken place, and in the other transaction concealed these facts and expressed simply an obligation to pay so many dollars or so many dollars in gold and silver coin, would make no difference in a court of chancery as to the judgments that would be rendered in the two cases.
Now, sir, the universal rule of equity and law that would regulate and control the judgment of a chancellor in every case between individuals cannot be a wrong or an unjust rule when it is attempted to be applied to a transaction of the same character between the Government and an individual. What entitles bond-holders who have loaned money to the Government to a judgment for a larger amount than would be accorded to an individual who had loaned money of precisely the same character to another individual ? Ought not the same common and universal rule of right and equity to regulate and control the rights of the creditor in both cases, whether the debtor be the Government or an individual ?
Here, sir, is a simple loaning by the individual and borrowing by the Government, not of gold and silver coin, but of depreciated paper. I maintain that the creditor gets all that is equitably and legally due him when he gets the value of the paper commodity which he pays to the Government in gold and silver; and that Congress ought to adopt the rule which a chancellor would adopt in giving judgment between bondholders and the Government. If it was legal for the Government to be sued by its creditors, as it might be made so, and this subject of the amount which the bondholders are entitled to have upon their bonds was pending in any enlightened court in the United States, in the Supreme Court or in any other court, and in that litigation it was made to appear that the bondholders had advanced and lent money, not gold and silver, but depreciated paper to the Government, and that that paper at the time it was advanced by the bondholder to the Government was worth but fifty or sixty cents in the dollar, no court in America would give against the Government a judgment for any greater amount than fifty or sixty cents in the dollar. Can that just and equitable rule that pervades universally every court in Great Britain and in the United States, and which is the law of reason and justice between the parties to such a contract, be condemned if Congress in regulating these bonds and the liability of the Government upon them should adopt that as the measure of responsibility of the Government of the United States ? Certainly not.
What does this measure propose ? To guaranty to give a pledge on the part of the Congress of the United States that the bonds shall not now be paid, but that when they are paid they shall be paid in gold and silver for the nominal amount of the bonds; and paying the nominal amount instead of the real amount, as I showed when I made my remarks on this subject before, makes a difference in the interest-bearing bonds of the United States of upward of seven hundred million dollars -- about seven hundred and fifty million dollars. The usury that has already been paid upon the bonds by paying six per cent. in gold on the nominal amount adds still further to this sum, swelling it to about nine hundred and seventy or nine hundred and eighty million dollars.
What, then, is the question that is presented to Congress ? The bonds show an aggregate amount of $2,100,000,400. These bonds were simply issued upon the receipt of the amount in a depreciated currency in legal-tender notes. Ascertain the value of the legal-tender notes loaned to the Government when the bonds were issued and sold and it makes a difference in the aggregate nominal amount of the bonds and of their value in gold and silver of upward of nine hundred million dollars. When you include in that aggregate the usury that has been paid in the six per cent. interest upon the nominal amount of the bonds the difference in the amount of the bonds, without regard to this usury, is about seven hundred and fifty million dollars. What does this resolution propose ? To guaranty, to pledge to the bondholders the sum of $750,000,000 of principal, and one hundred and odd million dollars that have been discharged by the payment of usurious interest beyond the value of the bonds in gold and silver at the time they were created by the loan of this spurious and depreciated paper to the Government.
Is it just and fair legislation to the people of the United States to pass such a measure ? I concede that the proposition is not practical, that it does not propose to do anything at the present; but it simply proposes to pledge, to give another guarantee of the faith of the Government for the payment of these bonds to their full nominal amount. Why is this measure pressed ? If this Congress passes it, whenever another Congress is elected that is willing and disposed to do right and equity between the Government and the bondholders according to the universal rule that would guide a chancellor in his judgment in such a case between individuals or between the Government and individuals, all that that Congress will have to do will be to repeal and to repudiate the bill which this Congress may now pass, and such repudiation will be had. It is robbery, it is iniquity for this Congress to make the people of the United States pay $900,000,000 more than by equity and law they are bound to pay.
If the honorable Senator from Ohio, the able and accomplished chairman of the Committee on Finance, had my bond for $100,000, due and payable twelve months after date, and he was to institute a suit against me in any court upon that bond, and I should litigate the ease and by his admission or by proof it should appear that the transaction was a loaning by him to me of $100,000 in legal-tender notes, and I should prove that those notes at the time of the loan were worth but fifty or sixty cents in the dollar, the only judgment he could obtain against me would be for the fifty or sixty thousand dollars with interest upon it. Would that be any injustice to him ? Would he not get the full value of the commodity that he had parted with to me ? That would be the judgment which every chancellor in christendom would render in the case. My honorable friend knows, every lawyer knows, that that would be the rule of equity and justice which every chancellor in christendom would apply as between individuals. This universal rule of equity and justice and reason that controls the transactions of all individuals and that is made the criterion of the liability of individuals in every transaction ought to be applied to similar transactions between the Government and individuals. It cannot be repudiated. It is as just between the Government and the bondholder as it would be between citizen and citizen, and it is the universally accepted law of equity and right and reason that the civilized world has adopted in all such transactions.
Mr. SAWYER. Will the Senator allow me to ask him a question ?
Mr. Davis. Yes, sir.
Mr. SAWYER. I should like to ask the Senator if the case would be altered if you took into consideration the fact that the legal tenders which had been given to the Senator from Ohio for his bond had been issued by the Senator from Kentucky for commodities sold by him ?
Mr. DAVIS. No, sir; it would not change the matter at all; and I can bring hundreds of cases to prove that the principle of usury which directs the debt to be scaled when there has been a borrowing and a lending applies as well to the purchase of property as to the purchase of a paper currency. The principle is uniformly established and adjudged everywhere, in every court, that wherever the contract is substantially a borrowing of money no terms in which the obligation can be drafted, no device to avoid usury and the subjection of the contract to the laws of usury can succeed; that where a spurious paper, that is, a depreciated paper that is worth less than par in gold and silver, is made in whole the consideration of a bond, or where property and that sort of paper in part is made the consideration of a bond calling for the payment of a nominal amount in dollars, the transaction will be examined into, eliminated by the chancellor, and where this spurious currency has been to the whole extent or partially the consideration upon which the bond has been executed the court will ascertain the amount of usury in the transaction by learning what amount of the depreciated paper has entered into the consideration and what that depreciated paper was worth in gold and silver at the time; and the difference between the nominal amount of the depreciated paper and its gold and silver value is the measure of usury that all courts will find in the transaction and against which it would give relief. That is the plain law. Every judge, every lawyer that has any reading and any practice knows that that is the plain law that would regulate all cases of loaning and borrowing formally or substantially.
Now, sir, I make the question to the Senate, why do you propose to depart from this universal rule of law and equity in all the transactions of individuals, and impose a different law upon the people of the United States and the Government of the United States, which charges them with an additional sum of $900,000,000 in gold and silver, from the payment of which individuals would unhesitatingly be excepted in the judgment of every chancellor.
Mr. President, I did not intend to make as many observations on this subject as I have. I merely wanted to put by my amendment this question distinctly before the Senate and the country. I wanted the people to know that the consideration which they had received upon these bonds was in a transaction of the Government borrowing money that the Government did not borrow money when it sold its bonds, but it borrowed greenbacks. These greenbacks were greatly depreciated. When some of the issues were made they were worth only forty cents in the dollar; when others were made they were fifty cents, and others sixty cents in value. I wanted to present to the people distinctly that they had received in gold and silver value for the $2,100,000,000 of bonds only a fraction above $1,200,000,000, according to the gold and silver par, and that by all the laws that regulate courts of chancery and every transaction between individuals of a similar character the obligor in such bonds, as between individuals, would be held only responsible for the gold and silver value of the paper at the time he borrowed it, and that the Government and the people of the United States ought not to be made responsible by different law; that it was justice and equity that they as well as individuals should be bound only for the gold and silver value of the paper they had received upon the loan, and that Congress in pledging the Government to pay the nominal amount of the bonds was about to pledge the people of the United States to pay more than nine hundred million dollars above what by law and equity and the universal rule they ought to be held responsible for.
Several executive messages were received from the President of the United States by Mr. Horace PORTER, his Secretary.
Mr. WILSON. I move that the Senate proceed to the consideration of executive business.
Mr. Sherman. I think we had better finish this bill.
Mr. WILSON. If Senators think they can get a vote on this bill I will not press the motion.
Mr. Williams. I hope so.
Mr. WILSON. I withdraw the motion.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The question is on the amendment of the Senator from Kentucky.
The amendment was rejected.
Mr. VICKERS. I offer the following amendment, to be added as a proviso :
Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be considered as binding the Government to purchase coin to pay the bonds of the Government not expressly provided by law to be paid in coin, if there shall not be coin or its equivalent in the Treasury with which to discharge the said obligations.
I do not design to detain the Senate on this amendment, as I desire to abbreviate the session as much as possible, which I hope is the desire of the Senate generally. This bill provides a pledge of the Government for the payment in coin of all the interest-bearing obligations of the Government. It also provides that the payment of these bonds shall not be anticipated unless the Government has sufficient coin, or the currency of the country be convertible into coin; but it makes no provision for the payment after the bonds become due. Now, I desire to test the sense of the Senate whether, if when these bonds fall due specie payments shall not be resumed and there shall not be coin in the Treasury to pay the bonds, it is the intention of the Senate to purchase coin to discharge these obligations. If that is the design of the Senate I desire it to be said so upon this amendment. If the Senate do not by this pledge mean to purchase coin for the payment of the bonds after they fall due, in the event of specie payments not having been resumed at the time, then I wish the Senate to say whether they intend to purchase this coin or whether they intend to pay in the currency of the country. That is the object I have in view in offering the amendment.
The amendment was rejected.
The bill was reported to the Senate without amendment, and ordered to a third reading. It was read the third time.
Mr. DAVIS. I ask for the yeas and nays on the passage of the bill.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
Mr. Bayard. Mr. President, this I understand is a House bill in the same terms to a certain extent as the Senate bill which was under discussion in this body last week. But now Senate bill No. 56, which we had under consideration last week, has been shorn of one half of its title, and of one half or more than one half its substance. The title of this bill now reads "a bill to strengthen the public credit." Its title so far is a challenge to American respect. But do the object and effect of the bill upon examination bear out the high sounding phrases of its title ? I apprehend not. Is this bill to have the effect "to strengthen the public credit" in reality ? What is our public credit ? The confidence of the public that the Government of the United States will thoroughly fulfill all its obligations in their letter and their spirit ? There is our credit.
Now, sir, to obtain and justify this confidence I know of no royal road. I never have been able to understand the difference between the principle that should be applied to the honest extinguishment of a private debt and a public debt. I take it they both rest upon the same principle, and they must both be treated, if treated honestly, in the same manner and to the same effect. The payment in my opinion of any debt, public or private, is a mere combined question of ability and integrity. Every law, therefore, that we may pass which shall have a tendency to increase our ability to pay our public obligations will strengthen in fact our public credit. Therefore every act of economy, every act of retrenchment, is an act of this character, and I will most cheerfully vote for it upon all occasions where I have the opportunity. More than that, sir, every act which tends to create popular confidence in the permanence of our Government is an act of this character. Every act which tends to restore order and regularity to our proceedings and to distribute governmental powers in accordance with the intent of the charter of our Government is of this character.
Thus, sir, an act to repeal the civil tenure-of-office bill, to restore to the Executive those just and necessary powers for the proper execution of his duties which were wrested from him or from a former incumbent of that office only in the baneful exercise of the spirit of partisan animosity, would, in my opinion, do more to strengthen public credit than a hundred such proclamations and protestations as the bill now under consideration contains. It would let the people of this country know, and the people of all other countries know, that we had performed that first great act which is the exhibition of a power signifying our will and our ability to control ourselves.
Let us have, therefore, to strengthen public credit wholesome acts tending to prove an intent to make the Government able to pay all its creditors, and let us not invite others or come ourselves to those barmicidal feasts of empty words, mere mouth-honor to the credit of our country and nothing in substance. Sir, the bill was well termed by an honorable Senator from Indiana, [Mr. MORTON,] who spoke upon it the other day, "mere leather and prunella." I think his phrase in that respect was about equal to the deserts of the bill.
But, sir, this act professes to be a declaratory act. The language of it is that it is intended to "settle conflicting questions and interpretations of the law" in virtue of which certain obligations of the United States were incurred. Now, I invite the attention of honorable Senators to this fact: something as due to our own character and the character of our body. Each bill should do in substance that which upon its face it professes. If anything would be derogatory to and tend to weaken the character and the credit of the United States it would be that under the guise of one measure you seek indirectly to accomplish something that you dare not place fully on its face. If this act, however called, merely a declaratory act, be intended in any degree to add any new stipulations of an obligatory character upon the Government of the United States, if it be intended either expressly or by any implication of the present law to give any new right of action or claim to the public creditors under the laws under which their obligations were issued, then I protest against its passage as being fraudulent upon its face and untrue; and I claim that if such an intent is to be urged hereafter, directly or indirectly, let our action appear that men may clearly know what it is they vote for.
But, sir, frankly I do not consider that any honest or reasonable construction of this act could make it anything else than a declaration of the opinion of this Congress as to what former acts of Congress were intended to signify. Declaratory acts are scarcely germane to the spirit of our Government and the form of laws under which our Government is administered. They had their rise under the English system of government and were intended simply to preserve the traditions of an unwritten law. It never was intended that the law-making power should usurp the functions of the judicial branch of the Government and interpret laws. That never was the intent, although there have been some sad illustrations lately in the legislation of this country indicating an intent on the part of Congress to usurp powers that they never were intended to exercise and which they never can exercise with due obedience to the restrictions of the Federal Constitution.
"A declaratory act is one made"--
And here I cite the leading text-writer on that subject, Dwarris--
"A declaratory act is one made where an old custom of the kingdom is almost fallen into disuse or become disputable, in which case Parliament has thought proper, in perpetua rei testimonii, for avoiding all doubts and difficulties, to declare what the common law is and ever hath been, and such statutes are expressed in affirmative or negative terms."
We have no such case as that here; there is no such necessity here. If it be true that where the reason ceases the law ceases, then the reason does not exist for this declaration of opinion by Congress as to what a former Congress meant. Chancellor Kent uses on this point language which I shall here adopt and commend to the consideration of those within my hearing. In speaking of this matter of declaratory laws he denies, as well he may, the power of the legislative body to make declaration as to the meaning of the acts of former Legislatures. He says :
"It seems to be settled, as the sense of the courts of justice in this country, that the Legislature cannot pass any declaratory law, or act declaratory of what the law was before its passage, so as to give it any binding weight with the courts. It is only evidence of the sense of the Legislature as to the preexisting law. The powers of government in this country are distributed in departments and each department is confined within its constitutional limits. The power that makes is not the power to construe the law. That latter trust belongs to the judicial department exclusively."
I cannot suppose that any independent judiciary, any honest judicial tribunal of this country, will ever permit their peculiar and necessary functions to be invaded and wrested from them by the unauthorized act of a legislative body. The English writer to whom I have before referred in these remarks says:
"It is the duty of a judge, in a land jealous of its liberties, to give effect to the express sense of the words of the law in the order in which they are found in the act, according to their fair import and ordinary understanding."
Such, sir, will be the rule, I trust, applied by a worthy judiciary in their consideration of the acts under which these debts were created. For my own part, I would ask nothing but what the most perfect integrity and honorable action could demand on the part of the Government that had bound itself to pay these debts. I will not here repeat anything in addition to what has been so ably said by the honorable Senator from Kentucky upon that subject, except to make an illustration as to what that natural sense of good faith is which exists in the heart of man and is not placed there by education, something that nature itself almost dictates in regard to the question of discharging in a more valuable currency a debt which was contracted in a debased and inferior one. Suppose it had pleased the Congress of the United States in the exercise of a power which I hold far more constitutional and right than that which they did exercise when they issued paper money, professing to find a power for that under the limitations of the Constitution -- suppose it had pleased Congress to order a debasement of our national coinage; suppose twenty-five per cent. more of alloy of worthless metal had been interjected into our currency, and with that base coinage men had come forward to buy your bonds, what would be thought of the man who when the day of payment of those bonds arrived should say, "I gave you lead, or lead in certain proportions, but for all the worthless metal I handed you you must give me back pure gold ?" Whether he was more maddened or more dishonest would be the only question arising in men's minds; but equitable mind would reject his proposition as being too absurd to be considered in the light of an honest proposition.
I do not, however, sir, propose at this time to make any extended remarks upon that which lies in the future. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof;" sufficient for me it is in considering this bill to find it in a shape that I cannot give my approval to, because it transgresses that which was always with me, and I trust ever will be, the rule of my action in treating upon governmental matters. It is an attempt by Congress to invade the prerogatives of another branch of the Federal Government, and I believe that I can strengthen my Government no better than by keeping the proper departments each within their proper sphere. Our danger at this time is that men lose sight, it seems to me, of the dividing lines of power; that there are departments in public justice, and that if those departments are overridden, if those barriers are broken down, confusion will come, the first name of which confusion will be perhaps an elective despotism, and the word "anarchy" will come in soon after. It cannot be otherwise if the experience of the past history of this world is to affect us hereof America in the future.
Therefore, sir, having heard this bill discussed within the last few days fully, having heard the honorable Senator from Indiana discuss it at great length, having heard the honorable Senator from Oregon discuss it at great length, I have been unable to find anything of substantial merit in it that justifies the term "a bill to strengthen the public credit." It is a bill rather that exhibits the will if not the power of the legislative branch of the Government to usurp functions which it is not fit or proper or justified in attempting the exercise of.
While I am perfectly willing to support the amendment of the honorable Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Davis] I cannot vote for the bill in its present shape, for I think it cannot have any effect to strengthen the public credit; but I think it may have this effect, in regard to which I either feel indifferent or am hostile: it may temporarily inflate the bonds of the United States Government; but for what good end ? Is the legislation of this country to become a matter for the use of speculators ? Already the creation of your so-called lawful money of paper has given rise to an elasticity of business which has destroyed credit, which is making everything in this country purely speculative; and I am not disposed to dignify such a mere stock-jobbing result as a temporary puffing of these bonds into an increased price as worthy of an act of Congress or of anything that we should give our assent to.
Then, if it is supposed that by raising these bonds in their value temporarily you may induce a larger portion to be held by foreign holders, to that I say, as at present advised, I cannot give my assent or approval. As this debt is to be paid, and as it is to be paid with such enormous interest upon it in this other lawful money, so superior in value to the paper which bore that name, if the people of the country are to pay the interest, I wish that it should be paid to our own fellow-citizens and not to persons who reside abroad. The strange paradox seems to have pervaded men's minds at the present time that the greater a man's debt the richer he was, and the more the bonds of our Government could be held abroad so much greater the proof that we were a prosperous, a rich, and a great nation. I cannot so consider it. Look at the great debt of England, not proportionate to the amount of accumulated capital or to the amount of interest paid, one half as great as our own; those who are fond of citing that as an illustration of our consolidated ability to meet it should remember that there ran always with it the proposition that it was mainly held within the British empire; in other words, that if the people of England were taxed to pay this heavy debt the people of England received the benefit. So, if our country is to be taxed to pay this debt, and to be taxed to pay the interest upon it, let us at least, if it can be so arranged, see to it that our own people shall get the benefit of the great sacrifices which will be necessary to be undergone by the American people in order to meet this debt in any proper and reputable shape. Therefore, sir, while I am not and never propose to be interested in puffing the price of United States bonds for the purpose of creating a foreign demand and creating a still greater outflow of gold into foreign countries from the hard-wrung toil and labor of my countrymen, for that reason, if for no other, should I withhold my assent to this bill.
Mr. CARPENTER. I desire to state very briefly the reasons why I shall vote against this bill. The bill recites as reasons for its enactment that it is designed to remove any doubt as to the purpose of the Government to discharge all just obligations to public creditors and to settle conflicting interpretations of the law, by virtue of which the obligations of the Government have been created. The bill then declares that the faith of the United States is solemnly pledged to the payment of its debts in coin, except where the laws under which the obligations were issued have expressly provided otherwise.
In the first place I am unwilling to admit that there has ever been a doubt as to this Government discharging its just obligations, unwilling to admit or seem to admit that it is necessary for Congress by solemn act to declare that the people of the United States are honest. I believe that by a fair construction of the acts under which these bonds were issued, read in the light of the circumstances attending the negotiation and sale of the bonds, the public faith of the Government is as firmly pledged as it ever can be to the payment of these bonds in coin. The passage of this act may provoke a future Congress to attempt its repeal, and such repeal, merely leaving the law as to the bonds where it stands at present, would harm our credit more than the passage of this bill would help it.
Again, if we resume specie payments before the maturity of these bonds, as I trust we shall, the difficulty settles itself.
The Chief Clerk proceeded to call the roll on the passage of the bill.
Mr. FERRY. I wish to say that my colleague [Mr. Buckingham] is confined to his room by illness. Had he been here he would have voted yea.
The result was announced-- yeas 42, nays 13; as follows:
YEAS-- Messrs. Joseph C. Abbott (R), Henry B. Anthony (R), Arthur I. Boreman (R), William G. Brownlow (R), Cameron, Cattell, Zachariah Chandler (R), Roscoe Conkling (R), Corbett, Cragin, Drake, George F. Edmunds (R), Reuben Fenton (R), Orris S. Ferry (R), William Pitt Fessenden (R), Gilbert, Grimes, Harris, Howard, William Pitt Kellogg (R), McDonald, Justin S. Morrill (R), James W. Nye (R), Patterson, Pool, Pratt, Ramsey, Robertson, Sawyer, Schurz, Scott, John Sherman (R), Stewart, Charles Sumner (R), John M. Thayer (R), Thomas Tipton (R), Lyman Trumbull (R), Willard Warner (R), Witley, Williams, Henry Wilson (R), and Yates --42.
NAYS-- Messrs. Thomas F. Bayard, Sr. (D), Carpenter, Casserly, Cornelius Cole (R), Garrett Davis (D), Morton, Osborn, Rice, Ross, Spencer, Stock Thurman, and Vickers-- 13.
ABSENT-- Messrs. Buckingham, Fowler, Hamlin, Harlan, Howe, McCreery, Norton, Pomeroy, Saulsbury, and Sprague-- 10.
So the bill was passed.
President pro tempore
Henry B. Anthony
Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1874; Class 2 meant their term ended in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1870; and Class 3 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1872.
3. George E. Spencer (R)
2. Willard Warner (R)
2. Alexander McDonald (R)
3. Benjamin F. Rice (R)
3. Cornelius Cole (R)
1. Eugene Casserly (D)
3. Orris S. Ferry (R)
1. William A. Buckingham (R)
2. Willard Saulsbury, Sr. (D)
1. Thomas F. Bayard, Sr. (D)
3. Thomas W. Osborn (R)
1. Abijah Gilbert (R)
3. Joshua Hill (R), from February 1, 1871
2. Homer V.M. Miller (D), from February 24, 1871
3. Lyman Trumbull (R)
2. Richard Yates (R)
3. Oliver H.P.T. Morton (R)
1. Daniel D. Pratt (R)
2. James W. Grimes (R)
James B. Howell (R)
3. James Harlan (R)
3. Samuel C. Pomeroy (R)
2. Edmund G. Ross (R)
3. Garrett Davis (D)
2. Thomas C. McCreery (D)
2. John S. Harris (R)
3. William Pitt Kellogg (R)
2. William Pitt Fessenden (R)
Lot M. Morrill (R)
1. Hannibal Hamlin (R)
3. George Vickers (D)
1. William T. Hamilton (D)
1. Charles Sumner (R)
2. Henry Wilson (R)
1. Zachariah Chandler (R)
2. Jacob M. Howard (R)
1. Alexander Ramsey (R)
2. Daniel S. Norton (R), until July 13, 1870 (died)
William Windom (R), July 15, 1870 (appointed) January 22 (successor elected)
Ozora P. Stearns (R), from January 22 (elected)
2. Hiram R. Revels (R), from February 23, 1870
1. Adelbert Ames (R), from February 23, 1870
3. Charles D. Drake (R), until December 19, 1870 (resigned to become chief justice of the Court of Claims)
Daniel T. Jewett (R), December 19, 1870 (appointed) January 20, 1871 (successor elected)
Francis P. Blair, Jr. (D), from January 20, 1871 (elected)
1. Carl Schurz (R)
2. John M. Thayer (R)
1. Thomas Tipton (R)
1. William M. Stewart (R)
3. James W. Nye (R)
2. Aaron H. Cragin (R)
3. James W. Patterson (R)
2. Alexander G. Cattell (R)
1. John P. Stockton (D)
3. Roscoe Conkling (R)
1. Reuben Fenton (R)
2. Joseph C. Abbott (R)
3. John Pool (R)
3. John Sherman (R)
1. Allen G. Thurman (D)
2. George H. Williams (R)
3. Henry W. Corbett (R)
3. Simon Cameron (R)
1. John Scott (R)
2. Henry B. Anthony (R)
1. William Sprague (R)
2. Thomas J. Robertson (R)
3. Frederick A. Sawyer (R)
2. Joseph S. Fowler (R)
1. William G. Brownlow (R)
2. Morgan C. Hamilton (R), from March 31, 1870
1. James W. Flanagan (R), from March 30, 1870
1. George F. Edmunds (R)
3. Justin S. Morrill (R)
2. John W. Johnston (D), from January 26, 1870
1. John F. Lewis (R), from January 26, 1870
2. Waitman T. Willey (R)
1. Arthur I. Boreman (R)
3. Timothy O. Howe (R)
1. Matthew H. Carpenter (R)
House of Representatives
Speaker of the House, James G. Blaine
The names of members of the House of Representatives are preceded by their district numbers.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections, 1868
1. Alfred E. Buck (R)
2. Charles W. Buckley (R)
3. Robert S. Heflin (R)
4. Charles Hays (R)
5. Peter M. Dox (D)
6. William C. Sherrod (D)
1. Logan H. Roots (R)
2. Anthony A.C. Rogers (D)
3. Thomas Boles (R)
1. Samuel B. Axtell (D)
2. Aaron A. Sargent (R)
3. James A. Johnson (D)
1. Julius L. Strong (R)
2. Stephen W. Kellogg (R)
3. Henry H. Starkweather (R)
4. William H. Barnum (D)
At-large. Benjamin T. Biggs (D)
At-large. Charles M. Hamilton (R)
1. William W. Paine (D), from December 22, 1870
2. Richard H. Whiteley (R), from December 22, 1870
3. Marion Bethune (R), from December 22, 1870
4. Jefferson F. Long (R), from December 22, 1870
5. Stephen A. Corker (D), from December 22, 1870
6. William P. Price (D), from December 22, 1870
7. Pierce M.B. Young (D), from December 22, 1870
1. Norman B. Judd (R)
2. John F. Farnsworth (R)
3. Elihu B. Washburne (R)
Horatio C. Burchard (R)
4. John B. Hawley (R)
5. Ebon C. Ingersoll (R)
6. Burton C. Cook (R)
7. Jesse H. Moore (R)
8. Shelby M. Cullom (R)
9. Thompson W. McNeely (D)
10. Albert G. Burr (D)
11. Samuel S. Marshall (D)
12. John B. Hay (R)
13. John M. Crebs (D)
At-large. John A. Logan (R)
1. William E. Niblack (D)
2. Michael C. Kerr (D)
3. William S. Holman (D)
4. George W. Julian (R)
5. John Coburn (R)
6. Daniel W. Voorhees (D)
7. Godlove S. Orth (R)
8. James N. Tyner (R)
9. John P. C. Shanks (R)
10. William Williams (R)
11. Jasper Packard (R)
1. George W. McCrary (R)
2. William Smyth (R)
William P. Wolf (R)
3. William B. Allison (R)
4. William Loughridge (R)
5. Francis W. Palmer (R)
6. Charles Pomeroy (R)
At-large. Sidney Clarke (R)
1. Lawrence S. Trimble (D)
2. William N. Sweeney (D)
3. Jacob Golladay (D)
Joseph H. Lewis (D)
4. J. Proctor Knott (D)
5. Boyd Winchester (D)
6. Thomas L. Jones (D)
7. James B. Beck (D)
8. George M. Adams (D)
9. John M. Rice (D)
1. J. Hale Sypher (R), from November 7, 1870
2. Lionel A. Sheldon (R)
3. Chester B. Darrall (R)
4. Joseph P. Newsham (R), from May 23, 1870
5. Frank Morey (R)
1. John Lynch (R)
2. Samuel P. Morrill (R)
3. James G. Blaine (R)
4. John A. Peters (R)
5. Eugene Hale (R)
1. Samuel Hambleton (D)
2. Stevenson Archer (D)
3. Thomas Swann (D)
4. Patrick Hamill (D)
5. Frederick Stone (D)
1. James Buffinton (R)
2. Oakes Ames (R)
3. Ginery Twichell (R)
4. Samuel Hooper (R)
5. Benjamin F. Butler (R)
6. Nathaniel P. Banks (R)
7. George S. Boutwell (R)
George M. Brooks (R)
8. George F. Hoar (R)
9. William B. Washburn (R)
10. Henry L. Dawes (R)
1. Fernando C. Beaman (R)
2. William L. Stoughton (R)
3. Austin Blair (R)
4. Thomas W. Ferry (R)
5. Omar D. Conger (R)
6. Randolph Strickland (R)
1. Morton S. Wilkinson (R)
2. Eugene M. Wilson (D)
1. George E. Harris (R), from February 23, 1870
2. Joseph L. Morphis (R), from February 23, 1870
3. Henry W. Barry (R), from February 23, 1870
4. George C. McKee (R)
5. Legrand W. Perce (R), from February 23, 1870
1. Erastus Wells (D)
2. Gustavus A. Finkelnburg (R)
3. James R. McCormick (D)
4. Sempronius H. Boyd (R)
5. Samuel S. Burdett (R)
6. Robert T. Van Horn (R)
7. Joel F. Asper (R)
8. John F. Benjamin (R)
9. David P. Dyer (R)
At-large. John Taffe (R)
At-large. Thomas Fitch (R)
1. Jacob H. Ela (R)
2. Aaron F. Stevens (R)
3. Jacob Benton (R)
1. William Moore (R)
2. Charles Haight (D)
3. John T. Bird (D)
4. John Hill (R)
5. Orestes Cleveland (D)
1. Henry A. Reeves (D)
2. John G. Schumaker (D)
3. Henry W. Slocum (D)
4. John Fox (D)
5. John Morrissey (D)
6. Samuel S. Cox (D)
7. Hervey C. Calkin (D)
8. James Brooks (D)
9. Fernando Wood (D)
10. Clarkson N. Potter (D)
11. George W. Greene (D)
Charles H. Van Wyck (R)
12. John H. Ketcham (R)
13. John A. Griswold (D)
14. Stephen L. Mayham (D)
15. Adolphus H. Tanner (R)
16. Orange Ferriss (R)
17. William A. Wheeler (R)
18. Stephen Sanford (R)
19. Charles Knapp (R)
20. Addison H. Laflin (R)
21. Alexander H. Bailey (R)
22. John C. Churchill (R)
23. Dennis McCarthy (R)
24. George W. Cowles (R)
25. William H. Kelsey (R)
26. Giles W. Hotchkiss (R)
27. Hamilton Ward, Sr. (R)
28. Noah Davis (R)
Charles H. Holmes (R)
29. John Fisher (R)
30. David S. Bennett (R)
31. Porter Sheldon (R)
1. Clinton L. Cobb (R)
2. David Heaton (R)
Joseph Dixon (R)
3. Oliver H. Dockery (R)
4. John T. Deweese (R)
John Manning, Jr. (D)
5. Israel G. Lash (R)
6. Francis E. Shober (D)
7. Alexander H. Jones (R)
1. Peter W. Strader (D)
2. Job E. Stevenson (R)
3. Robert C. Schenck (R), until January 5, 1871, vacant thereafter
4. William Lawrence (R)
5. William Mungen (D)
6. John A. Smith (R)
7. James J. Winans (R)
8. John Beatty (R)
9. Edward F. Dickinson (D)
10. Truman H. Hoag (D)
Erasmus D. Peck (R)
11. John T. Wilson (R)
12. Philadelph Van Trump (D)
13. George W. Morgan (D)
14. Martin Welker (R)
15. Eliakim H. Moore (R)
16. John Bingham (R)
17. Jacob A. Ambler (R)
18. William H. Upson (R)
19. James A. Garfield (R)
At-large. Joseph S. Smith (D)
1. Samuel J. Randall (D)
2. Charles O'Neill (R)
3. John Moffet (D)
Leonard Myers (R)
4. William D. Kelley (R)
5. John R. Reading (D)
Caleb N. Taylor (R)
6. John D. Stiles (D)
7. Washington Townsend (R)
8. J. Lawrence Getz (D)
9. Oliver J. Dickey (R)
10. Henry L. Cake (R)
11. Daniel M. Van Auken (D)
12. George W. Woodward (D)
13. Ulysses Mercur (R)
14. John B. Packer (R)
15. Richard J. Haldeman (D)
16. John Cessna (R)
17. Daniel J. Morrell (R)
18. William H. Armstrong (R)
19. Glenni W. Scofield (R)
20. Calvin W. Gilfillan (R)
21. John Covode (R), from February 9, 1870 (contested election) January 11, 1871 (died), vacant thereafter
22. James S. Negley (R)
23. Darwin Phelps (R)
24. Joseph B. Donley (R)
1. Thomas Jenckes (R)
2. Nathan F. Dixon, Jr. (R)
1. B. Frank Whittemore (R)
Joseph Rainey (R)
2. Christopher C. Bowen (R)
3. Solomon L. Hoge (R), from April 8, 1869 after winning contested election
4. Alexander S. Wallace (R), from May 27, 1870 after successfully contesting election
1. Roderick R. Butler (R)
2. Horace Maynard (R)
3. William B. Stokes (R)
4. Lewis Tillman (R)
5. William F. Prosser (R)
6. Samuel M. Arnell (R)
7. Isaac R. Hawkins (R)
8. William J. Smith (R)
1. George W. Whitmore (R), from March 30, 1870
2. John C. Conner (D), from March 31, 1870
3. William T. Clark (R), from March 31, 1870
4. Edward Degener (R), from March 31, 1870
1. Charles W. Willard (R)
2. Luke P. Poland (R)
3. Worthington C. Smith (R)
1. Richard S. Ayer (R), from January 31, 1870
2. James H. Platt, Jr. (R), from January 26, 1870
3. Charles H. Porter (R), from January 26, 1870
4. George Booker (C), from January 26, 1870
5. Robert Ridgway (C), January 27, 1870 October 16, 1870
Richard T. W. Duke (C), from November 8, 1870
6. William Milnes, Jr. (C), from January 27, 1870
7. Lewis McKenzie (C), from January 31, 1870
8. James King Gibson (C), from January 28, 1870
1. Isaac H. Duval (R)
2. James C. McGrew (R)
3. John Witcher (R)
1. Halbert E. Paine (R)
2. Benjamin F. Hopkins (R)
David Atwood (R)
3. Amasa Cobb (R)
4. Charles A. Eldredge (D)
5. Philetus Sawyer (R)
6. Cadwallader C. Washburn (R)
Arizona Territory. Richard C. McCormick (D)
Colorado Territory. Allen A. Bradford (R)
Dakota Territory. Solomon L. Spink (R)
Idaho Territory. Jacob K. Shafer (D)
Montana Territory. James M. Cavanaugh (D)
New Mexico Territory. J. Francisco Chaves (R)
Utah Territory. William H. Hooper (D)
Washington Territory. Selucius Garfielde (R)
Wyoming Territory. Stephen F. Nuckolls (D)