House of Representatives
Saturday, February 25, 1871.
Mr. Kelley reported back Senate bill 859; and reinstated the coinage charge which was rejected by the Senate
In the nature of a substitute to S. 859, revising the laws relative to the mints, assay offices, and coinage of the United States, namely: Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the following:
That the Mint of the United States is hereby established as a bureau of the Treasury Department, embracing in its organization and under its control all mints for the manufacture of coin, or assay offices for the stamping of bars which are now, or which may be hereafter, authorized by law. The chief officer of the said bureau shall be denominated the Director of the Mint, and shall be under the general direction of the Secretary of the Treasury. He shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall hold his office for the term of five years, unless sooner removed by the President, upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Director of the Mint shall have the general supervision of all mints and assay offices, and shall make an annual report to the Secretary of the Treasury of their operations at the close of each fiscal year, and from time to time such additional reports setting forth the operations and condition of such institutions as the Secretary of the Treasury shall require, and shall lay before him the annual estimates for their support. And the Secretary of the Treasury shall appoint the number of clerks, classified according to law, necessary to discharge the duties of said bureau.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the officers of each mint Shall he a superintendent, an assayer, a melter and refiner, and a coiner, and for the mint at Philadelphia an engraver, all to be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the superintendent of each mint shall have the control thereof, the superintendence of the officers and persons employed therein, and the supervision of the business thereof, subject to the approval of the Director of the Mint, to whom he shall make reports at such times and such forms as the Director of the Mint may prescribe, which shall exhibit in detail, and under appropriate heads, the deposits of bullion, the amount of gold, silver, and minor coinage, and the amount of unparted, standard, and refined bars issued, and such other statistics and information as may be required. The superintendent of each mint shall also receive and safely keep until legally withdrawn, all moneys or bullion which shall be for the use or the expenses of the mint; he shall receive all bullion brought to the mint for assay or coinage, shall be the keeper of all bullion or coin in the mint, except while the same is legally in the hands of other officers, and shall deliver all coins struck at the mint to the persons to whom they shall be legally payable. From the report of the assayer and the weight of the bullion, he shall compute the whole value of each deposit, and also the amount of the charges or deductions, if any, of all which he shall give a detailed memorandum to the depositor; and he shall also give at the same time, under his hand, a certificate of the net amount of the deposit, to be paid in coins or bars of the same species of bullion as that deposited, the correctness of which certificate shall be verified by the assayer, who shall countersign the same; and in all cases of transfer of coin or bullion, he shall give and receive vouchers stating the amount and character of such coin or bullion. He shall keep and render, quarter-yearly, to the Director of the Mint, for the purpose of adjustment, according to such forms as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, regular and faithful accounts of his transactions with the other officers of the mint and the depositors; and shall also render to him a monthly statement of the ordinary expenses of the mint or assay office under his charge. He shall also appoint all assistants, clerks, (one of whom shall be designated "chief clerk,") and workmen employed under his superintendence; but no person shall be appointed to employment in the offices of the assayer, melter and refiner, coiner, or engraver, except on the recommendation and nomination in writing of those officers respectively; and he shall forthwith report to the Director of the Mint the names of all persons appointed by him, the duties to be performed, the rate of compensation, the appropriation from which compensation is to be made, and the grounds of the appointment; and if the Director of the Mint shall disapprove of the same, the appointment shall be vacated.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the assayer shall assay all metals and bullion whenever such assays are required in the operations of the Mint; he shall also make assays of coins whenever required by the superintendent.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That the melter and refiner shall execute all the operations which are necessary in order to form ingots of standard silver or gold, and alloys for minor coinage, suitable for the coiner, from the metals legally delivered to him for that purpose; and shall also execute all the operations which are necessary in order to form bars conformable in all respects to the law, from the gold and silver bullion delivered to him for that purpose. He shall keep a careful record of all transactions with the superintendent, noting the weight and character of the bullion; and shall be responsible for all bullion delivered to him, until the same is returned to the superintendent and the proper vouchers obtained.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the coiner shall execute all the operations which are necessary in order to form coins, conformable in all respects to the law, from the standard gold and silver ingots, and alloys for minor coinage, legally delivered to him for that purpose; and shall be responsible for all bullion delivered to him, until the same is returned to the superintendent and the proper vouchers obtained.
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That the engraver shall prepare from the original dies already authorized all the working dies required for use in the coinage of the several mints; and when new coins or devices are authorized, shall, if required by the Director of the Mint, prepare the devices, models, molds, and matrices, or original dies for the same; but the Director of the Mint shall nevertheless have power, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, to engage temporarily for this purpose the services of one or more artists, distinguished in their respective departments of art, who shall be paid for such service from the contingent appropriation for the mint at Philadelphia.
Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That whenever any officer of a mint or assay office shall be temporarily absent, on account of sickness, or any other sufficient cause, it shall be lawful for the superintendent, with the consent of said officer, to appoint some person attached to the mint to act in the place of such officer during his absence; but all such appointments shall be forthwith reported to the Director of the Mint for his approval, and in all cases whatsoever the principal shall he responsible for the acts of his representative. In case of the temporary absence of the superintendent the chief clerk shall act in his place; and in case of the temporary absence of the Director of the Mint, the Secretary of the Treasury may designate some one to act in his place.
Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That every officer, assistant, and clerk of the mint shall, before he enters upon the execution of his office, take an oath or affirmation before some judge of the United States, or judge of the superior court, or of some court of record of any State, faithfully and diligently to perform the duties thereof, in addition to other official oaths prescribed by law, which oaths duly certified shall be transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury; and the superintendent of each mint may require such oath or affirmation from any of the employees of the mint.
Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That the superintendent, the assayer, the melter and refiner, and the coiner of each mint, before entering upon the execution of their respective offices, shall become bound to the United States with one or more sureties, approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, in the sum of not less than ten nor more than fifty thousand dollars, with condition for the faithful and diligent performance of the duties of his office. Similar bonds may be required of the assistants and clerks, in such sums as the superintendent shall determine, with the approbation of the Director of the Mint; but the same shall not be construed so as to relieve the superintendent or other officers from liability to the United States for acts, omissions, or negligence of their subordinates or employees: Provided, That the Secretary of the Treasury may at discretion increase the bonds of the superintendent.
Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed to the Director of the Mint an annual salary of five thousand five hundred dollars, and necessary traveling expenses in visiting the different mints and assay offices; to the superintendents of the mints at Philadelphia and San Francisco, each five thousand dollars; to the assayers, melters and refiners, and coiners, of those mints, each three thousand five hundred dollars; to the engraver of the mint at Philadelphia, three thousand five hundred dollars; to the superintendent of the mint at Carson City, and all other mints now established, or hereafter to be established, an annual salary of not exceeding three thousand five hundred dollars; and to the assayer, melter and refiner, and coiner of such institutions, each a salary of not exceeding three thousand dollars, the amount of such salaries to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury; to the assistants and clerks such annual salaries shall be allowed as the Director of the Mint may determine, with the approbation of the Secretary of the Treasury; and to the workmen shall be allowed such wages, to be determined by the superintendent, as may be customary and reasonable, according to their respective stations and occupations, and approved by the Director of the Mint; and the salaries provided for in this section, and the wages of the workmen permanently engaged, shall be payable in monthly installments.
Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That the standard for both gold and silver coins of the United States shall be such, that of one thousand parts by weight nine hundred shall be of pure metal, and one hundred of alloy; and the alloy of the silver coins shall be of copper, and the alloy of the gold coins shall be of copper, or of copper and silver; but the silver shall in no case exceed one-tenth of the whole alloy.
Gold is the Unit of Measure
§. 14. And be it further enacted, That of the gold coins, the weight of the double-eagle, or twenty-dollar piece, shall be five hundred and sixteen grains; of the eagle, or ten-dollar piece, two hundred and fifty-eight grains; of the half-eagle, or five-dollar piece, one hundred and twenty-nine grains; of the quarter-eagle, or piece of two and one-half dollars, sixty-four and one-half grains; of the three-dollar piece, seventy-seven and four-tenths grains; of the one-dollar piece, or unit of value, 25.8 grains; which coins shall be a legal tender in all payments at their denominational value.
No Silver Dollar
§. 15. And be it further enacted, That of the silver coins, the weight of the half-dollar, or piece of fifty cents, shall be 192 grains; and the quarter-dollar and dime, shall be, respectively, one-half and one-fifth of the weight of said half-dollar; which coins shall be a legal tender, at their denominational value, for any amount not exceeding five dollars in any one payment.
Sec. 16. And be it further enacted, That the standard for minor coinage shall be an alloy of copper and nickel, to be composed of three-fourths copper and one-fourth nickel.
Sec. 17. And be it further enacted, That of the copper-nickel coinage the weight of the piece of five cents shall be five grams, or seventy-seven and sixteen-hundredths grains troy; of the three-cent piece three grams, or forty-six and thirty-hundredths grains; and of the one-cent piece, one and one-half grams, or twenty-three and fifteen-hundredths grains; which coins shall be a legal tender at their denominational value for any amount not exceeding fifteen cents in any one payment.
No Other Coins
§. 18. And be it further enacted, That no coins, either of gold, silver, or minor coinage, shall hereafter be issued from the mint other than those of the denominations, standards, and weights herein set forth.
Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That upon the coins of the United States there shall be the following devices and legends: Upon one side of each of said coins there shall be an impression emblematic of liberty, with an inscription of the word "Liberty" and the year of the coinage; and upon the reverse of each coin there shall be the figure or representation of an eagle, with the inscriptions "United States of America" and "E Pluribus Unum," and a designation of the value of the coin; but on the gold dollar and three dollar piece, the dime, five, three, and one-cent piece, the figure of the eagle shall be omitted; and the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, may cause the motto, "In God we trust," to be placed on such coins as shall admit of such legend.
Sec. 20. And be it further enacted, That at the option of the owner, gold or silver may be cast into bars of fine metal, or of standard fineness, or unrefined, as he may prefer, with a stamp upon the same designating the weight and fineness, and with such devices impressed thereon as may be deemed expedient to prevent fraudulent imitation: Provided, That no such bars shall be issued of a less weight than five ounces.
"Free" Coinage of Gold
Sec. 21. And be it further enacted, That any owner of gold bullion may deposit the same at any mint to be formed into coin or bars for his benefit: Provided, That it shall be lawful to refuse any deposit of less value than one hundred dollars, or any bullion so base as to be unsuitable for the operations of the Mint: And provided also, That when gold and silver are combined, if either metal be in such small proportion that it cannot be separated advantageously, no allowance shall be made to the depositor for its value.
No "Free" Coinage of Silver
§. 22. And be it further enacted, That any owner of silver bullion may deposit the same at any mint to be formed into bars for his benefit, but no deposit for coinage into silver coin shall be received: Provided, however, That silver bullion contained in gold deposits, and separated therefrom may be paid for in silver coin, at such valuation as may be from time to time established by the Director of the Mint.
Sec. 23. And be it further enacted, That when bullion is deposited in the mint for coinage, it shall be weighed by the superintendent, and, when practicable, in the presence of the depositor, to whom a receipt shall be given, which shall state the description and weight if the bullion: Provided, That when the bullion is in such a state as to require melting before its value can be ascertained, the weight, after melting, shall be considered as the true weight of the bullion deposited.
Sec. 24. And be it further enacted, That from every parcel of bullion deposited for coinage or bars, the superintendent shall deliver to the assayer a sufficient portion for the purpose of being assayed; but all such bullion remaining from the operations of the assay shall be returned to the superintendent by the assayer.
Sec. 25. And be it further enacted, That the assayer shall report to the superintendent the quality or standard of the bullion assayed by him, and such information as will enable him to compute the amount of the charges hereinafter provided for, to be made to the depositor, for the cast of converting the bullion into bars.
§. 26. And be it further enacted, That the only charge for coinage on deposits of bullion to be converted into coin or bars shall be one-fifth of one per centum; and the charges for refining, when the bullion is below standard, for toughening, when metals are contained in it which render it unfit for coinage; for copper used for alloy when the bullion is above standard; for separating the gold and silver, when these metals exist together in the bullion; and for the preparation of bars, shall be fixed, from time to time, by the Director, with the concurrence of the Secretary of the Treasury, so as to equal but not to exceed, in their judgment, the actual average cost to each mint and assay office of the material and labor employed in each of the cases aforementioned.
Sec. 27. And be it further enacted, That the assayer shall verify all calculations made by the superintendent of the value of deposits, and if satisfied of the correctness thereof shall countersign the certificate of the same heretofore required to be given by the superintendent to the depositor.
Purchase Silver for Coinage
§. 28. And be it further enacted, That in order to procure bullion for the silver coinage authorized by this act, the superintendents, with the approval of the Director of the Mint, as to price, terms, and quantity, shall purchase such bullion with gold coins from the bullion fund. The gain arising from the coinage of such silver bullion into coin of a nominal value exceeding the cost value thereof, shall be credited to a special fund denominated the silver profit fund. This fund shall be charged with the wastage incurred in the silver coinage, and with the expense of distributing said coins as hereinafter provided. The balance to the credit of this fund shall be from time to time, and at least twice a year, paid into the Treasury of the United States.
Sec. 29. And be it further enacted, That silver coins shall be paid out at the several mints only in exchange for gold coins at par, and in sums not less than one hundred dollars; and it shall be lawful, also, to transmit parcels of the same, from time to time, to the assistant treasurers, depositaries, and other officers of the United States, under general regulations proposed by the Director of the Mint, and approved by the Secretary of the Treasury: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall prevent the payment of silver coins for silver parted from gold, as above provided, or for change less than one dollar in settlement for gold deposits.
Greenbacks for Small Change Metals
Sec. 30. And be it further enacted, That for the purchase of metal for the coinage of copper-nickel coins authorized by this act, a sum not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars in lawful money of the United States shall be transferred by the Secretary of the Treasury to the credit of the superintendent of the mint at Philadelphia, at which establishment only, until otherwise provided by law, such coinage shall be carried on. The superintendent, with the approval of the Director of the Mint as to price, terms, and quantity, shall purchase the metal required for such coinage; and the gain arising from the coinage of such metals into coin of a nominal value, exceeding the cost thereof, shall be credited to the special fund denominated the minor coinage profit fund. This fund shall be charged with the wastage incurred in such coinage, and with the cost of distributing said coins as hereinafter provided. The balance to the credit of this fund, and any balance of profits accrued from minor coinage under former acts, shall be, from time to time, and at least twice a year, paid into the Treasury of the United States.
Sec. 31. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the superintendent to deliver the copper-nickel coins in exchange for their legal equivalent in other money, to any person who shall apply for them: Provided, That the sum asked for be not less than a certain amount to be previously determined by him, and that it be not so great as, in his judgment, to interfere with the capacity of the mint to supply other applicants.
Sec. 32. And be it further enacted, That the copper-nickel coins may, at the discretion of the superintendent, be delivered in any of the principal cities and towns of the United States, at the cost of the mint for transportation.
Banknotes for Redeeming Small Change
Sec. 33. And be it further enacted, That the copper nickel coins authorized by this act shall be exchangeable at par at the mint in Philadelphia, for any other coin of copper, bronze, or copper-nickel (except the three and five cent copper-nickel pieces) heretofore authorized by law. And it shall be lawful for the treasurer, and the several assistant treasurers and depositaries of the United States, to redeem, in national currency, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, the copper-nickel coin herein authorized to be issued, when presented in sums of not less than fifty dollars. And the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and required to direct that such coinage shall cease until otherwise ordered by him, whenever coins are presented for redemption in such quantities as to indicate the amount in circulation to be redundant.
Sec. 34. And be it further enacted, That parcels of bullion shall be, from time to time, transferred by the superintendent to the melter and refiner; a careful record of these transfers, noting the weight and character of the bullion, shall be kept, and vouchers shall be taken for the delivery of the same, duly receipted by the melter and refiner, and the bullion thus placed in the hands of the melter and refiner shall be subjected to the several processes which may be necessary to form it into ingots of the legal standard, and of a quality suitable for coinage.
Sec. 35. And be it further enacted, That the ingots thus prepared shall be assayed, and if they prove to be within the limits allowed for deviation from the standard, the assayer shall certify the fact to the superintendent, who shall thereupon receive the same, and transfer them to the coiner.
Sec. 36. And be it further enacted, That no ingots shall be used for coinage which differ from the legal standard more than the following proportions, namely, in gold ingots, one thousandth; in silver ingots, two thousandths; in copper-nickel ingots, twenty-five thousandths, in the proportion of nickel.
Sec. 37. And be it further enacted, That the melter and refiner shall prepare all bars required for the payment of deposits; but the fineness thereof shall be ascertained and stamped thereon by the assayer.
Sec. 38. And be it further enacted, That the superintendent shall, from time to time, deliver to the coiner ingots for the purpose of coinage; a careful record of these transfers, noting the weight and character of the bullion, shall be kept, and vouchers shall be taken for the delivery of the same, duly receipted by the coiner; and the ingots thus placed in the hands of the coiner shall be subjected to the several processes necessary to make from them coins in all respects conformable to law.
Sec. 39. And be it further enacted, That in adjusting the weights of the gold coins, the following deviations shall not be exceeded in any single piece: In the double-eagle one-half of a grain, in the eagle three-eights of a grain, in the half-eagle, the three-dollar piece, the quarter-eagle, and one-dollar piece, one-fourth of a grain. And in weighing a number of pieces together, when delivered by the coiner to the superintendent, and by the superintendent to the depositor, the deviation from the standard weight shall not exceed one hundredth of an ounce in five thousand dollars in double-eagles, half-eagles, or quarter-eagles; six-thousandths of an ounce in three thousand dollars in three-dollar pieces; and two-thousandths of an ounce in one thousand one-dollar pieces.
Sec. 40. And be it further enacted, That in adjusting the weight of the silver coins, the following deviations shall not be exceeded in any single piece: In the half and quarter dollar, and in the dime, one grain; and in weighing large numbers of pieces together, when delivered by the coiner to the superintendent, and by the superintendent to the depositor, the deviations from the standard weight shall not exceed two hundredths of an ounce in one thousand dollars in half-dollars or quarter-dollars, and one-hundredth of an ounce in one thousand dimes.
Sec. 41. And be it further enacted, That in adjusting the weight of the copper-nickel coins provided by this act, there shall be no greater deviation allowed than three grains for the five-cent pieces and two grains for the three and one cent pieces.
Sec. 42. And be it further enacted, That the coiner shall, from time to time, as coins are prepared, deliver them to the superintendent, who shall keep a careful record of their kind, number, and actual weight; and in receiving coins it shall be the duty of the superintendent to ascertain by the trial of a number of single pieces separately, whether the coins of that delivery are within the legal limits of the standard weight; and if his trials for this purpose shall not prove satisfactory, he shall cause all the coins of such delivery to be weighed separately, and such as are not of legal weight shall be defaced and delivered to the melter and refiner as standard bullion, to be again formed into ingots and recoined; or the whole delivery may, if more convenient, be remelted.
Sec. 43. And be it further enacted, That at every delivery of coins made by the coiner to a superintendent, it shall be the duty of such superintendent, in the presence of the assayer, to take indiscriminately a certain number of pieces of each variety for the annual trial of coins, (the number being prescribed by the Director of the Mint,) which shall be carefully sealed up, labeled, and deposited in a pyx designated for the purpose, which shall be kept under the joint care of the superintendent and assayer, and be so secured that neither can have access to its contents without the presence of the other, which reserved pieces shall be transmitted quarterly to the mint at Philadelphia. Other pieces may at any time be taken for such tests as the Director of the Mint shall prescribe.
Sec. 44. And be it further enacted, That the coiner shall, from time to time, deliver to the superintendent the clippings and other portions of bullion remaining after the process of coining; and the superintendent shall keep a careful record of their weight and character.
Sec. 45. And be it further enacted, That the superintendent shall debit the coiner with the amount in weight of standard metal of all the bullion placed in his hands, and credit him with the amount in weight, of all the coins, clippings, and other bullion returned by him to the superintendent. Once at least in every year, at such time as the superintendent shall appoint, there shall be an accurate and full settlement of the accounts of the coiner, and melter and refiner, at which time the said officers shall deliver up to the superintendent all the coins, clippings, and other bullion in their possession, respectively, accompanied by statements of all the bullion delivered to them since the last annual settlement, and all the bullion returned by them during the same period, including the amount returned for the purpose of settlement.
Sec. 46. And be it further enacted, That when all the coins, clippings, and other bullion have been delivered to the superintendent, it shall be his duty to examine the accounts and statements rendered by the coiner, and melter and refiner, and the difference between the amount charged and credited to each officer shall be allowed as necessary wastage, if the superintendent shall be satisfied that there has been a bona fide waste of the precious metals, and if the amount shall not exceed, in the case of the melter and refiner, one thousandth of the whole amount of gold, and one and one-half thousandth of the whole amount of silver delivered to him since the last annual settlement; and in the case of the coiner, one thousandth of the whole amount of silver, and one-half thousandth of the whole amount of gold that has been delivered to him by the superintendent: Provided, That all copper used in the alloy of gold and silver bullion shall be separately charged to the melter and refiner and accounted for by him.
Sec. 47. And be it further enacted, That it shall also be the duty of the superintendent to forward a correct statement of his balance-sheet at the close of such settlement, to the Director of the Mint, who shall compare the total amount of gold and silver bullion and coin on hand with the total liabilities of the Mint. At the same time a statement of the ordinary expense account, and the moneys therein, shall also be made by the superintendent.
Sec. 48. And be it further enacted, That when the coins or bars which are the equivalent to any deposit of bullion are ready for delivery they shall be paid to the depositor, or his order, by the superintendent; and the payments shall be made, if demanded, in the order in which the bullion shall have been brought to the mint; but in cases where there is delay in manipulating a refractory deposit or for any other unavoidable cause, the payment of subsequent deposits, the value of which is known, shall not be delayed thereby; and in the denominations of coin delivered, the superintendent shall comply with the wishes of the depositor, except when impracticable or inconvenient to do so.
Sec. 49. And be it further enacted, That unparted bullion may be exchanged at any of the mints for fine bars, on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury.
Sec. 50. And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of enabling the mints and the assay office in New York to make return to depositors with as little delay as possible, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to keep in the said mints and assay office, when the state of the Treasury will admit thereof, such an amount of public money, or bullion procured for the purpose, as he shall judge convenient and necessary, out of which those who bring bullion to the said mints and assay office may be paid the value thereof, in coin or bars, as soon as practicable after the value has been ascertained; and on payment thereof being made, the bullion so deposited shall become the property of the United States; but the Secretary of the Treasury may at any time withdraw the fund, or any portion thereof.
Sec. 51. And be it further enacted, That to secure a due conformity in the gold and silver coins to their respective standards of fineness and weight, the judge of the district court of the United States for the eastern district of Pennsylvania, the assayer of the assay office, New York, and such other persons as the President shall from time to time designate, shall meet as assay commissioners, at the mint in Philadelphia, to examine and test, in the presence of the Director of the Mint, the fineness and weight of the coins reserved by the several mints for this purpose, on the second Wednesday in February, annually, and may continue their meetings by adjournment, if necessary; if a majority of the commissioners shall fail to attend at any time appointed for their meeting, the Director of the Mint shall call a meeting of the commissioners at such other time as he may deem convenient; and if it shall appear, by such examination and test, that these coins do not differ from the standard fineness and weight by a greater quantity than is allowed by law, the trial shall be considered and reported as satisfactory; but if any greater deviation from the legal standard or weight shall appear, this fact shall be certified to the President of the United States; and if, on a view of the circumstances of the case, he shall so decide, the officer or officers implicated in the error shall be thenceforward disqualified from holding their respective offices.
Sec. 52. And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of securing a due conformity in weight of the coins of the United States to the provisions of this act, the brass troy pound weight procured by the minister of the United States at London, in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-seven, for the use of the Mint, and now in the custody of the mint at Philadelphia, shall be the standard troy pound of the Mint of the United States, conformably to which the coinage thereof shall be regulated.
Sec. 53. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Director of the Mint to procure for each mint and assay office, to be kept safely thereat, a series of standard weights corresponding to the aforesaid troy pound, consisting of a one-pound weight, and the requisite subdivisions and multiples thereof; from the hundredth part of a grain to twenty-five pounds; and the troy weights ordinarily employed in the transactions of such mint and assay offices shall be regulated according to the above standards at least once in every year, under the inspection of the superintendent and assayer; and the accuracy of those used at the mint at Philadelphia shall be tested annually, in the presence of the assay commissioners, at the time of the annual examination and test of coins.
Sec. 54. And be it further enacted, That the working dies at each mint shall, at the end of each calendar year, be defaced and destroyed by the coiner in the presence of the superintendent and assayer.
Sec. 55. And be it further enacted, That dies of a national character may be executed by the engraver, and national and other medals struck by the coiner, of the mint at Philadelphia under such regulations as the superintendent, with the approval of the Director of the Mint may prescribe: Provided, That such work does not interfere with the regular coinage operations of the mint: And provided further, That no private medal dies shall be prepared at the mint, or the machinery or apparatus thereof be used for that purpose.
Sec. 56. And be it further enacted, That the moneys arising from all charges and deductions on and from gold and silver bullion, and the manufacture of medals, and from all other sources, except as hereinbefore provided, shall from time to time be paid and covered into the Treasury of the United States, and no part of such deductions or medal charges, or profit on silver, or minor coinage, shall be expended in salaries or wages; but all expenditures of the mints and assay offices, not herein otherwise provided for, shall be paid from appropriations made by law on estimates furnished by the Secretary of the Treasury.
Sec. 57. And be it further enacted, That the officers of the United States assay office at New York shall be a superintendent, an assayer, and a melter and refiner, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The business of said assay office shall be in all respects similar to that of the mints, except that bars only, refined or unrefined, and not coin, shall be manufactured therein; and no silver, copper, or nickel shall be purchased for small silver or minor coinage. All bullion intended by the depositor to be converted into coins of the United States, when assayed, parted, and refined and its net value certified, shall be transferred to the mint at Philadelphia, under such directions as shall be made by the Secretary of the Treasury, at the expense of the contingent fund of the mint, and shall be there coined, and the proceeds returned to the assay office. And the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized to make the necessary arrangements for the adjustment of the accounts upon such transfers between the respective offices.
Sec. 58. And be it further enacted, That the duties of the superintendent, assayer, and melter and refiner of said office shall correspond to those of superintendents, assayers, and melters and refiners of mints, and all parts of this act relating to mints, and their officers, the duties and responsibilities of such officers, and others employed therein, the oath to be taken, and the bonds and sureties to be given by them, (as far as the same may be applicable,) shall extend to the assay office at New York hereby established, and to its officers, assistants, clerks, workmen, and others employed therein.
Sec. 59. And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed to the officers of the assay office at New York the following salaries per annum: To the superintendent, five thousand dollars; to the assayer, and the melter and refiner, each, three thousand five hundred dollars; and the salaries of assistants and clerks, and wages to workmen, and their manner of appointment shall be determined and regulated as herein directed in regard to mints.
Sec. 60. And be it further enacted, That the business of the branch mint at Denver, which shall hereafter be conducted as an assay office, and of the assay office at Boisé City, Idaho, and of all other assay offices now established, or hereafter to be established, shall be confined to the receipt of gold and silver bullion, for melting, refining, and assaying, to be returned to depositors of the same, in bars, with the weight and fineness stamped thereon.
Sec. 61. And be it further enacted, That the officers of such assay offices, when their services are necessary, shall consist of an assayer, who shall have charge thereof, and a melter, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and the assayer may employ as many clerks, workmen, and laborers, under the direction of the Director of the Mint, as may be provided for by law. The salaries of said officers and clerks shall not exceed the following: To the assayer, the sum of three thousand dollars; to the melter, the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars; to the clerks, one thousand eight hundred dollars each; and the subordinate workmen and laborers shall receive such wages as are customary, according to their respective stations and occupations.
Sec. 62. And be it further enacted, That each officer and clerk to be appointed at such assay offices, before entering upon the execution of his office, shall take an oath or affirmation before some judge of the United States, or of the supreme court of said Territory, as prescribed by the act of July twenty, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and each become bound to the United States of America, with one or more sureties, to the satisfaction of the Director of the Mint, or of one of the judges of the supreme court of the State or Territory in which the same may be located, and of the Secretary of the Treasury, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of their offices; and the said assayers shall discharge the duties of disbursing agents for the payment of the expenses of their respective assay offices.
Sec. 63. And be it further enacted, That the general direction of the business of assay offices of the United States shall be under the control and regulation of the Director of the Mint, subject to the approbation of the Secretary of the a Treasury; and for that purpose it shall be the duty of the said Director to prescribe such regulations and to require such returns periodically and occasionally, and to establish such charges for melting, refining, parting, assaying, and stamping bullion, as shall appear to him to be necessary for the purpose of carrying into effect the intention of this act in establishing such assay offices.
Sec. 64. And be it further enacted, That all the provisions of this act for the regulation of the mines of the United States, and for the government of the officers and persons employed therein, and for the punishment of all offenses connected with the mints or coinage of the United States, shall be, and they are hereby, declared to be in full force in relation to the assay offices by this act established, as far as the same may be applicable thereto.
Sec. 65. And be it further enacted, That if any person or persons 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 coin or bars, in resemblance or similitude of the gold or silver coins, or bars, which have been or hereafter may be coined or stamped at the mints and assay offices of the United States; or in resemblance or similitude of any foreign gold or silver coin which by law is, or hereafter may be made current in the United States; or are in actual use and circulation as money within the United States; or shall pass, utter, publish, or sell, or attempt to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or bring into the United States from any foreign place, or have in his possession, any such false, forged, or counterfeited coin or bars, knowing the same to be false, forged, or counterfeited, every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment and confinement at hard labor not exceeding ten years, according to the aggravation of the offense.
Sec. 66. And be it further enacted, That if any person or persons 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 coin in the resemblance or similitude of any of the minor coinage which has been, or hereafter may be, coined at the mints of the United States; or shall pass, utter, publish, or sell, or bring into the United States from any foreign place, or have in his possession any such false, forged, or counterfeited coin, with intent to defraud any body politic or corporation, or any person or persons whatsoever, every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and by imprisonment and confinement at hard labor not exceeding three years.
Sec. 67. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall fraudulently, by any art, way, or means whatsoever, deface, mutilate, impair, diminish, falsify, scale, or lighten the gold or silver coins which have been, or which shall hereafter be, coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign gold or silver coins which are by law made current, or are in actual use and circulation as money within the United States, every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall be imprisoned not exceeding two years, and fined not exceeding two thousand dollars.
Sec. 68. And be it further enacted, That if any of the gold or silver coins which shall be struck or coined at any of the mints of the United States shall be debased, or made worse as to the proportion of fine gold or fine silver therein contained; or shall be of less weight or value than the same ought to be, pursuant to the several acts relative thereto; or if any of the weights used at any of the mints or assay offices of the United States shall be defaced, increased, or diminished, through the default or connivance of any of the officers or persons who shall be employed at the said mints or assay offices, with a fraudulent intent; and if any of the said officers or persons shall embezzle any of the metals which shall at any time be committed to their charge for the purpose of being coined, or any of the coins which shall be struck or coined at the said mints, or any medals, coins, or other moneys of said mints or assay offices, at any time committed to their charge, or of which they may have assumed the charge, every such officer or person who shall commit any or either of the said offenses shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall be imprisoned at hard labor for a term not less than one year nor more than ten years, and shall be fined in a sum not exceeding ten thousand dollars.
Sec. 69. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect in two months from the date of its passage; at the expiration of which time the offices of the treasurer of the mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans shall be vacated, and the assistant treasurer at New York shall cease to perform the duties of treasurer of the assay office. The other officers and employees of the mints and assay offices now appointed shall continue to hold their respective offices, they having first given the necessary bonds, until further appointments may be required, the Director of the Mint at Philadelphia being styled and acting as superintendent thereof. The duties of the treasurers shall devolve as herein provided, upon the superintendents, and said treasurers shall act only as assistant treasurers of the United States: Provided, That the salaries heretofore paid to the treasurers of the mints at Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans, acting as assistant treasurers, shall hereafter be paid to them as "assistant treasurers of the United States," and that the salary of the assistant treasurer at New York shall not be diminished by the vacation of his office as treasurer of the assay office.
Sec. 70. And be it further enacted, That the different mints and assay offices authorized by this act shall be known as "the mint of the United States at Philadelphia," "the mint of the United States at San Francisco," "the mint of the United States at Carson;" "the United States assay office at New York," "the United States assay office at Denver," and "the United States assay office at Boisé City, Idaho;" and all unexpended appropriations heretofore authorized by law for the use of the mint of the United States at Philadelphia, the branch mint of the United States in California, the branch mint of the United States at Denver, the United States assay office in New York, and the United States assay office at Boisé City, Idaho, are hereby authorized to be transferred for the account and use of the institutions established and located respectively at the places designated by this act.
Sec. 71. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and is hereby, authorized at his discretion to remove the whole or any part of the machinery, apparatus, and fixtures of the branch mints of the United States at New Orleans, Charlotte, and Dahlonega, to any other institution authorized by this act, or at his discretion to sell at public sale, all the real estate, buildings, machinery, apparatus, and fixtures belonging thereto.
§. 72. And be it further enacted, That this act shall be known as the "coinage act, eighteen hundred and seventy-one;" and all other acts and parts of acts pertaining to the mints, assay offices, and coinage of the United States, inconsistent with the provisions of this act, are hereby repealed: Provided, That this act shall not be construed to affect any act done, right accrued, or penalty incurred, under former acts, but every such right is hereby saved; and all suits and prosecutions for acts already done in violation of any former act or acts of Congress relating to the subjects embraced in this act may be commenced or proceeded with in like manner as if this act had not been passed; and all penal clauses and provisions in existing laws relating to the subjects embraced in this act shall be deemed applicable thereto.
Mints, Assay Offices, etc.
Mr. Kelley, from the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures, reported back, with the recommendation that it do pass, the bill (H.R. No. 5) revising the laws relative to the mints, assay offices, and coinage of the United States.
The bill was read.---[But where is it, it is not among the bills and resolutions of the House; neither is H.R. 1427.
Mr. Kelley. Mr. Speaker, it may not be inappropriate for me to make a brief statement in connection with this bill.
Mr. Wood. Before the gentleman proceeds I would like to ask him whether he intends to ask for the question upon this bill to-day ?
Mr. Kelley. No, sir; I desire that the bill shall be fairly considered. It is not a pet measure of my own. It is a measure originated by the Treasury Department, and growing out of the necessities of the case. The mint law of this country has never been revised. It was originally framed for a single institution at Philadelphia, and it involves many crudities necessarily arising from the fact that we have established several mints and quite a number of assay offices in different parts of our very much more widely extended country than the law was originally intended to cover. We were not then a bullion-producing people, while we are to-day the greatest producers of gold and silver in the world. Our mints are situated upon the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and in the heart of what was but a few years ago regarded as the inaccessible desert of America.
Time, as well as circumstances, has tended to make the law somewhat, I may say with propriety, incoherent, or crude. The Secretary of the Treasury, discovering the difficulty of administering the affairs of so many mints and assay offices, gave the subject his personal consideration, and then invited to his aid some of the most experienced gentlemen in the country in the matters of coinage and the management of mints, and directed one of the officers of the Treasury, in connection with those gentlemen, to codify the mint laws. That was done, and the codification, with such suggestions as those commissioners, as I may call them, made, were submitted to the two Houses of Congress. The Senate took up the bill and acted upon it during the last Congress, and sent it to this House. It was referred to the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures, and received as careful attention as I have ever known a committee to bestow upon any measure. The committee before proceeding to consider it sent copies of it, not to the Director of the Mint alone, but to the offices of all the mints and to those gentlemen who within the last fifteen or twenty years have been connected with the mints and made reputations which justified the committee in attaching importance to their opinions and the results of their experience; and thus enlightened from sources to which the Secretary had not applied, the committee proceeded with great deliberation to go over the bill, not only section by section, but line by line, and word by word.---[You could have, should have, mentioned that your Committee replaced the whole-entire bill that was passed by the Senate, and what you are introducing now is a substitute. You could have mentioned that the Senate spent a day and a half debating the coinage charge, and rejected it; but your Committee in their wisdom reinserted it into the substitute which you are recommending "that it do pass." ---Perhaps, mentioning all that would have made a difference.]
The bill has not received the same elaborate consideration from the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures of this House, but the attention of each member was brought to it at the earliest day of this session; each member procured a copy of the bill, and there has been a thorough examination of the bill again. I think that when the House comes to consider the bill, while they may find some amendments to make that would be judicious, they will find the body of the bill to be a well-devised and careful codification of the Mint laws, making a very few, if any, essential changes except in this: there is now a director of the Mint; his office is attached to the Mint at Philadelphia, and there is no more reason why he should supervise the other mints than there is that the chief officers of the other mints should supervise him. There is really no subordination, there is no responsible head to our mints, or our system of coinage, and if the law be not brought into better shape than it is, we shall perhaps, without willful fault on the part of anybody, find our coinage one that other nations may not recognize, or that we ourselves must doubt. It is of the highest importance, therefore, that the one single cardinal change that the bill proposes should be made.
Until I hear some objections to the bill, I believe that I have nothing further to say, while I will take pleasure in responding to the inquiries of any gentleman who may have questions to put upon the subject.
Mr. Storm. I will ask my colleague whether the present inspector of the Mint at Philadelphia has had anything to do with the suggestions made in regard to this bill ?
Mr. Kelley. I will say to my colleague that as one of the officers of the Mint he certainly was consulted, both by the gentlemen who were summoned to the aid of the Secretary of the Treasury, and by the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. I will say further, that we not only addressed letters to the Director of the Mint but to the other officers, and those who have been officers, to Mr. Robert Patterson, who is now the cashier of the Safe Deposit Company, whose father, the late Professor Patterson, formerly of the University of Virginia, was for many years Director of the Mint, and with whom coinage has been a life long study. We received a number of communications from him, as well as one bill, every section and line of which to which he would submit an amendment was marked. We omitted, so far as I know, no gentleman in the country who has had protracted official connection with the mints or assay offices, or any gentleman whose scientific attainments in connection with the system of coinage or mint usages was sufficient to bring him to our notice. The committee having no special views, regarding themselves as charged with a very important function, that of providing for the integrity of the coinage and an economic administration of the mints of the country, sought information from all recognized authorities, whether official or unofficial, American or foreign.
Mr. Storm. I will ask nay colleague [Mr. Kelley] one further question. I have not been able to give much attention to this bill, except while it was being read. I will ask my colleague whether this bill in any way proposes to void the charges now pending against the Director of the Mint of Philadelphia ?
Mr. Kelley. This bill was prepared soon after the present Director of the Mint came in, and before any charges could have been made against him, if there be any now pending. This bill does not now touch any personal question; it relates alone to the laws of coinage and the government of the mints and assay offices of the country.
An amendment has been suggested to me, which I will now move. This bill was proposed in the year 1871; therefore, an amendment is necessary to section seventy-two. That section now reads, "this act shall be known as the coinage act, 1871." I move to amend by striking out "1871" and inserting "1872."
The Speaker. It being a verbal amendment, it will be made if not objected to.
The amendment was agreed to.
Mr. Maynard. There is another point that suggested itself to me as the bill was being read, and to which I would like to call the attention of the gentleman who has reported it. It contemplates that the Mint shall be a bureau in the Treasury Department, and that the head of that bureau shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a period of five years, unless sooner removed for reasons given to the Senate. Now, I would ask the gentleman, why limit the official term ? Why not allow the appointment to be general, like that of most other heads of bureaus, to continue nominally and, so far as the law speaks, during good behavior ? And, then, why require, if the Executive should deem it necessary to remove the incumbent before the expiration of five years, that he shall give his reasons therefor to the Senate ?
Mr. Kelley. I will say to the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Maynard] that, as he has learned from what I have already stated, neither I nor the committee originated the draft of this bill. I can only give him what I believe to have been the reasons of the gentleman who did originate it; that is, that the Mint being, in one aspect of the case, a manufacturing establishment, an establishment for the conversion of crude material into the coin of the country, it would be well to give as much permanence as possible to its management. Inasmuch as its administration may affect our commercial relations, indeed our confidence in our own currency and coinage, it was felt that it would be well that the chief of the establishment should be appointed by and with the consent of the Senate, and that when appointed he should for even more than the presidential term not be removable without cause shown. I know no other reason than that, and I personally have no wishes on the subject as to whether the term of the office shall be the one or the other. My own judgment is, that the proposition aims at a very wise conclusion, that of lifting the Mint of the United States and removing the officer who is to be charged with the weight, fineness, and regularity of our coinage, and of the pecuniary responsibility of this establishment, in so far as may be, having in view a due responsibility to the Government, from all other influences.
Mr. Maynard. Undoubtedly those are reasons that should govern us in framing this bill. The officer who will be appointed in charge of this bureau, should it be established, must necessarily have the subject of coinage as a specialty; there will necessarily be few persons in the country that will be qualified to fill the place. That it is of sufficient importance to be dignified by a senatorial confirmation as well as executive appointment, I think is trite. But I submit to the gentleman whether this very element of permanency would not be better secured by placing the incumbent in the office, requiring these peculiar qualifications, which will of course continue to increase as long as the office shall be adequately filled, than at the end of five years have him go out of office by operation of law, at which time there would be a scramble of applicants seeking to get the place, and he would only come in as one of perhaps a half dozen or a dozen of others who would bring a great many influences to bear, a great many recommendations, and a great many alleged qualifications. Especially if he is to be examined under the civil service policy, about which my friend certainly must know more than I do, being chairman of that committee, the very fact that he had been engaged in coinage for five years might make him very rusty in subjects of astronomy and engineering and the higher mathematics and the classical attainments, in which his competitors might be more fresh and appear before the examining board with greater advantages than he would. I suggest whether it would not be better that when the man is once in office he would be allowed to stay there until there shall be valid reasons for his removal.
Mr. Kelley. That is a question I would submit to the House without any contest of opinion about it. Such other suggestions as I may have to make shall be submitted as amendments may come under consideration.
Mr. Maynard. If the gentleman will allow me, I will move to amend the first section of the bill by striking out all after the eleventh line, so that it will simply provide that the Director of the Mint "shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate."
The Speaker. The amendment offered by the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Maynard] will be read.
The Clerk read as follows:
Strike out at the end of the first section these words: "And shall hold his office for the term of five years, unless sooner removed by the President upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate."
Mr. Potter. I desire to make some inquiries in regard to this bill.
Mr. Kelley. Unless the gentleman's remarks relate to the amendment, I would suggest that we had better let that question be first disposed of.
Mr. Potter. What I have to say does not relate to this amendment.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio [James Garfield, future President of US]. Mr. Speaker, I have not looked at the general scope of this bill enough to have formed any judgment about it; but I desire to say that if there is any amendment which ought not to be made, it is, it seems to me, that proposed by the gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. Maynard.] Whatever is defective in the report on civil service which we have lately received --and for which I hope all good men are devoutly thankful, for it is a great step in the right direction-- whatever is defective in that report arises mainly from the fact that it does not regulate removals; it does not say a word about getting out of office; it relates solely to the question of getting in. So long as the back door is open to all officers, no matter how much you guard the front door, there is still a large degree of trouble. Now, I am glad to see that in the first section of this bill the back door is guarded. It proposes to regulate the tenure of office of this officer. It fixes his term. It does not make him an officer for life, thereby subjecting the bill to the charge of creating what might perhaps be called a moneyed aristocracy, or certainly a coin aristocracy; but it does provide that when the officer is removed, the reasons for his removal shall be given. Now I think this is a step in advance in regard to the civil service; and if no other feature of this bill be preserved, I hope the clause which my friend from Tennessee proposes to strike out will be retained. As to the general merits of the bill, while I have no doubt that the measure is valuable, I have not studied it sufficiently to form an individual judgment.
Mr. Wood. I desire to call the attention of the Chair to the fact that the morning hour has expired.
The Speaker. The morning hour does not expire unless some question of higher privilege takes the pending bill from the consideration of the House.
Mr. Wood. Do I understand that this bill may run through the day ?
The Speaker. It may, unless something of higher privilege claims the attention of the House. The Chair has frequently so decided.
Mr. Kelley. I would say to the gentleman from New York [Mr. Wood] that I have no objection to the bill going over till the morning hour of to-morrow. I am not anxious to press it at this time. I did not expect the bill to come up to-day.
Mr. Wood. Two members belonging to the minority of the committee, and who, I suppose, desire to speak on this bill, are absent.
Mr. Kelley. I desire that every gentleman in the House shall have, if he wishes it, an opportunity to discus the bill. I am not to be understood as unduly pressing it. I will say to my friend from New York that the chairman of the committee took especial pains to invite to the bill the attention of the two members to whom the gentleman has referred and they informed him afterward that they had looked pretty thoroughly through the bill. But I do not wish to press the measure in the absence of any gentleman who feels an interest in it; and if the gentleman from New York will raise a question that shall take me off my feet and cause the Speaker to announce the expiration of the morning hour, he will gain his object, and I shall be obliged to him, for I am here to-day without any papers on the subject.
Mr. Wood. I wish to be distinctly understood. I do not object to the House proceeding to the consideration of this bill. I do not I object to this being the subject of the whole session of to-day. But, sir, if we are to do business within the morning hour, if this committee can be called and go through the whole morning hour, and then take up the rest of the day with one of its bills, I do not see why any one committee should have a priority over any other committee so as to monopolize the business of one whole day's session. If other committees are to be restricted to the morning hour when they submit their reports, this committee should have no greater privilege.
Mr. Dawes. I should like to ask the Chair whether there is any business on the Speaker's table ?
The Speaker. The gentleman from New York will remember that the Chair has uniformly ruled when committees are called they are entitled to go on with their business unless taken off the floor by some privileged motion, such as a motion to go to the business upon the Speaker's table, or to go into Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, or by a report from the Committee of Elections. Only such motions can take precedence of the business of the morning hour, and unless such privileged business arises, there is nothing which can interfere with the business of the morning hour. There is nothing in the rules which confines the morning hour to sixty minutes.
Mr. Dawes. I made the inquiry whether there is any business upon the Speaker's table, and I make it again; for, in my judgment, there are some matters in this bill which deserve serious consideration. If there is any such business, I move to go to the business upon the Speaker's table.
The Speaker. There is no business upon the Speaker's table beyond the matters usually laid before the House by the Chair every day, excepting a bill from the Senate (S. No. 384) extending time for the completion of the Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan ship-canal, in the State of Wisconsin.
Mr. Dawes. The gentleman from New York asks me to withdraw wy motion for the present.
Mr. Potter. I desire to indicate the questions to which I wish answers to be made at this time by the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Mr. Maynard. I hope the gentleman from New York will suspend a moment until I reply to the suggestion of the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Garfield.] From the point which he has made against the amendment, he seems to have failed to see the object which I had in view. The objection to the bill as it now stands is not that this officer is removable, but the objection is to limiting the term to five years. If that be done we shall have the same trouble we now have in reference to the Commissioner of the Currency. My objection is to limiting the term of office to a period of five years. I wish to let the officer be made removable only upon reasons to be assigned for his removal.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio. My friend from Tennessee would have accomplished his purpose by striking out the five years' term, leaving the assignment of reason to stand, but he strikes out the assignment of reason for the removal as well.
Mr. Potter. With the consent of the gentlemen from Tennessee and Ohio, I will now put certain inquiries to the gentleman in charge of this bill; and I desire the gentleman from Massachusetts to withdraw his motion, so that I may put them at this time, since I wish an opportunity to consider the information which may be given in answer to my questions; and if I do not receive it to-day I shall not have that opportunity.---[If the bill was read --and the recording clerk and other members claim it was read-- didn't he hear and understand what was in the bill ? The bill that was introduced in the Senate on April 28, 1870, the bill which originated this whole process, and Kelley's amendment to it, demonetized silver (in section 14) and made 25 grains of gold the unit of measure.]
Mr. Dawes. I withdraw my motion to go to the business on the Speaker's table.
Mr. Potter. I desire, in the first place, to ask the gentleman who has this bill in charge whether, if it becomes a law, it will make any change in the value of the coin issued pursuant to its provisions from the value of the coin which now exists ?
Mr. Kelley. It does not.---[The value (silver/gold content) of the coins will not be changed, but the bill proposes to stop making $1 silver coins; I think it would have made a difference if Kelley had mentioned that, or if these representatives had read (and understood) sections 15 and 18.]
Mr. Potter. Does it make any change in the standard of weight or of fineness of the coin ?
Mr. Kelley. It does not.
Mr. Potter. Does it provide for any new kind of coin; coin of any new denomination, other than that which is now coined ?
Mr. Kelley. It does not.
Mr. Potter. Does it provide for coins of new impressions, or with different forms or devices ?
Mr. Kelley. Inasmuch as it provides for the coining of one, three, and five-cent pieces, it extinguishes the devices of the old copper cent. It extinguishes the devices of the copper-nickel coin, which is combined in the proportion of 12 to 88. It extinguishes the devices of the bronze coins, which are made of tin, copper, and zinc, of two metals which ought not to be introduced into our coin. It originates no new devices --none not known to our coinage at present.
Mr. Potter. Does it preserve the same silver and gold devices now in use ?
Mr. Kelley. Precisely.
Mr. Potter. Does it preserve the same nickel coin now in use ?
Mr. Kelley. Precisely.
Mr. Potter. It authorizes, then, hereafter no base coinage except nickel coinage ?
Mr. Kelley. That is so. This bill is a mere codification. There are one or two things in this bill, I will say to the gentleman from New York, with his permission, which I personally would like to modify; that is to say, I would like to follow the example of England, and make a wide difference between our silver and gold coinage. But as I was charged with a bill that looked only to the codification of the mint laws, or mainly that, I did not feel it well to interject into that bill any of my own peculiar views. I would have liked to have made the gold dollar uniform with the French system of weights, taking the gram as the unit. I have expressed myself very earnestly on that subject, but I did not feel that I could impress my personal views on a general law, and therefore I preferred, as I introduced yesterday a resolution touching the silver coin, to have this question come up as an independent question.
Mr. Potter. I have some further inquiries to make of the gentleman, which I should like him to answer. Does the bill provide for any compulsory recoinage of existing coins, or only that the coinage hereafter shall be according to the provisions of this bill ?
Mr. Kelley. That is all.
Mr. Potter. Does it increase the denomination of any nickel or base coins ?
Mr. Kelley. Not in the slightest degree.
Mr. Potter. Will the bureau which the gentleman proposes to create under this bill, increase the number of officers now connected with the coinage ?
Mr. Kelley. I think it will add one officer, namely, the chief of the bureau, while it will remove or obviate the necessity for some subordinate ones. For instance, the duties of the treasurer of the mint now performed at New York, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, will be performed by the Assistant Treasurers of the United States at those places.
Mr. Potter. Does it preserve the provisions of law now existing for the redemption of base coin ?
Mr. Kelley. It improves them. There is no provision now for the redemption of base coin. A postmaster may receive only one, three, and five-cent pieces, and he cannot have them redeemed by the Government whose officer he is.
Mr. Potter. The gentleman is mistaken. We passed a bill for that purpose in the last Congress.
Mr. Kelley. I am aware that there was such a bill, but I do not know what was its fate. I remember that it would have passed one day but for the objection of my friend from New York, [Mr. Potter.]
Mr. Potter. On the contrary, Mr. Speaker---
Mr. Kelley. The gentleman afterward became a co-laborer with me, but it was on his objection the bill was killed the first time.
Mr. Potter. Perfectly true. It was killed on my objection because it was not in the proper form, but afterward, when put in proper form, it passed the House. Subsequently a bill identical with it from the Senate came here, and was passed during the last session of the Forty-First Congress. And under that bill the redemption of all base coin is now law.
Mr. Kelley. This bill provides for the redemption alike of all subsidiary coinage, whether of silver, copper, or nickel.
Mr. Potter. Does it make any change in the law with respect to the exchange of gold for other coinage ?
Mr. Kelley. Not in the slightest.
Mr. Potter. Does it provide for a change in the rate of redemption of the subsidiary coins when exchanged for gold ?
Mr. Kelley. I think not; I mean at their relative values.
Mr. Potter. I mean that.
Mr. Kelley. The gentleman will find that it does not.
Mr. Potter. I understood from a member of the committee that it made that change.
Mr. Kelley. I think not. If I find that it does, I will advise my friend of the fact tomorrow morning before we vote on the question.
Mr. Potter. I thank the gentleman. And now will he explain what he means by the "profit fund."
Mr. Kelley. I will. The base coinage has always been a source of profit. To have made the old "copper," at the organization of the Government, worth a cent would have rendered the provision of an adequate amount of coins almost impossible. There is no subsidiary coinage in the world, the intrinsic value of which represents its denominational value, and there is none such in America. And consequently when base coin is produced there is a profit fund, which has sometimes amounted, I think, to a million dollars a year. There is also a profit fund arising out of all mints except those belonging to countries who use silver as a standard --a profit fund derived from silver coinage. England derives about eight per cent. from her silver coinage, that being the difference between it, and gold. We derive about four per cent. under a law introduced by the late Senator Benton in order to secure a silver coinage as a circulating medium in this country, that being impossible if a subsidiary coinage were made of such metal that its intrinsic value should be its denominational value. It was the fact that the old Mexican "pillar dollar," as it is called, was of its denominational value that has taken it out of circulation, so that it is now only found in this country or in the commercial countries of Europe in cabinets of curiosities.
Mr. Potter. It is exactly in respect of that that I wish to ask the attention of the House. The gentleman is entirely mistaken in saying that the copper coinage of this country was a base coinage at the origin of the Government. On the contrary, when the copper which was imported into this country, to make cents of, varied materially in value, the weight of the cent was, on one or more occasions, made to vary accordingly; but a cent represented truly the hundredth of a dollar. It was not until 1853 that there was any law for the issue of an untruthful coinage --a coinage that was not in value what it pretended to be. After the discovery of California, in view of the great increase in gold, silver became relatively increased as gold decreased in value, and it was thought necessary by Congress, in order to retain small silver in circulation, to depreciate the value of the fractional silver coins. Accordingly the value of the fractional silver coins of the country was debased about five per cent., and two half dollars or four quarter dollars thereafter were not worth a dollar, but became intrinsically worth only about ninety-five hundredths of a dollar. The silver coins for fractions of a dollar since 1853 have been false coins, such coins as, if any citizen had reduced the earlier silver coin to that extent, he would be liable to be punished for so debasing the coin.
Mr. Kelley. I suggest to the gentleman that the Government of the United States and that of England, France, Belgium, or Germany, are not men, but sovereigns, exercising sovereign authority, and bound to furnish the people of those countries with a circulating medium. I deny, therefore, the analogy between the action of such a Government in the discharge of such a function and that of a counterfeiter of coin.
Mr. Potter. The gentleman interrupted me to refer to an analogy that I did not draw. I am not unaware of the power of the Government. I spoke of the fact that it did debase its fractional silver coins first about 1853, and after 1853 the Government further proceeded to debase its copper coins, and then it finally proceeded to put into circulation a miserable, debased nickel coinage, such as the common five-cent piece, which was made for no earthly purpose, that I can understand, except to enrich certain gentlemen who have a monopoly of nickel in the gentleman's State, and to give them a profit from it. The fact now is that we have in circulation in this country five or six descriptions of base coins, no one of which is what it pretends to be, and some of which are not intrinsically worth ten per cent. of what they pretend to be, and there was no law for the redemption of those base coins until the law which was passed at the last session of Congress.
The gentleman says there is no Government in the world that issues coin that has not debased the subsidiary coins. I take issue with him in regard of that fact. It is the United States only, as I understand it, of all the civilized Governments, that materially debase their coins and put out coins that pretend to be what they are not. Now, I do not know what necessity there may be of legislating in respect to the coinage now when the United States have not had any specie circulation for ten years past, and when little at present exists to induce us to believe that they will get back to a specie currency for years to come. I cannot, therefore, understand why we should legislate upon the subject at this time at all; but if we do, I protest against the continuation by this Government of the issue of coins which do not mean what they say, which are not what they pretend to be, which declare a lie upon their face; for I say, if it is a part of the province of the Government to issue coinage, it is the function of this Government and of all Governments to do justice, and there is no justice in putting forth that which is not what it pretends to be and attempting to force it upon the people. A profit fund so originating, howsoever large it may be, is of no credit to any Government.---[Yet, during those same 10 years US mints produced 3,622,498 standard $1 silver coins]
Mr. Kelley. If the gentleman is correct as to the early history of the coinage of the country, I would like him to explain where the profit fund came from when each coin represented its intrinsic value --what there was to pay for fuel, officers, wastage, and buildings ?
Mr. Potter. Really the difference between the cost of a thing, that is to say its intrinsic value plus the labor necessary to give it form and shape and to place upon it the proper device, and of another thing, having only one half or the tenth of its nominal value, is not difficult to understand. When I say that the copper coinage of the country originally was intrinsically of its denominational value, I meant, of course, that its metallic value was equal to its denominational value, deducting from that value the cost of putting the piece into its form. The Government took the original cost of the copper and added to it the amount of cost necessary to put it in the form of coin. But with this Pennsylvania contrivance we have this nickel coinage, giving a monopoly to these gentlemen in Pennsylvania from which my colleague at my left suggests they reap a profit of six hundred per cent., and the country is flooded with base coin, not one fourth of its denominational value, and having no relation to the representative value put upon it.
Mr. Kelley. I do not see yet, notwithstanding the explanation of the gentleman from New York, [Mr. Potter,] how the purchase of copper and other metals, and of fuel, and of acids, and of retorts, and of dies, and the payment of salaries, and the expense of construction of buildings and the transmission of coin at the charge of the Government to different points of the country for distribution, at their precise proper cost, shall create a profit fund which is traditional with the Mint. That is what I want to know, how the Government, by selling its coins at precisely their cost, has always made a profit. I would like this question answered, how a merchant, by selling everything that he deals in at its proper cost, shall foot up each year a profit fund ?
Mr. Potter. He does not do so.
Mr. Kelley. The Government has always had its profit fund from the Mint.
Mr. Potter. My answer is that the Government has not done so, for to say that it has done so is simply to assert that it always issued coin that was debased. There may have been some little profit at times, but there never were any base coin put in circulation until 1853, when silver coin, representing fractions of a dollar, was debased about six per cent.
Mr. Kelley. If the gentleman was not a little rabid about Pennsylvania, if he had not gone mad on nickel, he would see that the nickel clauses of this bill could be stricken out, and yet a very great work would be done for the coinage of the country.
Mr. Potter. Will the gentleman consent to strike them out ?
Mr. Kelley. The nickel coins are part of the coins of the country to-day, in the proportion provided for in this bill. If those provisions were stricken out, there would be no provision for producing subsidiary coinage. Therefore, I shall not consent to striking them out. In 1868, when the Committee on Coinage was presided over by Mr. John A. Kasson, of Iowa, copper-nickel coins, in the proportion of 23 to 77, I think, were provided for, and since then no other coins of the denominations of three and five cents have been made. Now, to strike these out without inserting a provision for other coinage, would leave us practically without a supply of these small coins. This bill is symmetrical in all its parts; it is a mere revision of the mint laws, suggested by the Secretary of the Treasury, and concurred in by every man who sees the difficulty of managing mints and assay offices scattered over this country as they are, without having a responsible head. Its sole function is to so codify the laws, and to appoint a responsible head, under the Secretary of the Treasury, that our coinage may be uniform and honest, and that if we issue base coin we shall issue them for not more than their value, as our fathers used to do, and shall redeem them wherever they are found in excess among the people.
In the good old times to which the gentleman mistakenly refers, when a cent represented intrinsically the one hundredth part of a dollar, there was no means of redeeming that or any other subsidiary coinage that was issued. When in a later generation the corrupted three-cent coin was issued, no provision was made for its redemption. Last year, owing to the efforts of the Committee on Coinage, against the mistaken resistance of the gentleman from New York, though with his after co-operation, we made those coins redeemable. This bill perpetuates that sound provision, nothing more.
Mr. Potter. It was not necessary to make provision for redeeming base coin when we did not issue any. Our fathers had no necessity for making a law for exchanges of coin, because all the coins of those days were of exchangeable value. The device of exchanges grew up in consequence of the issue in later times of these base coins, and the only symmetrical part of this bill is the provision that these base coins hereafter are to be made of nickel alone.
Mr. Kelley. No, sir. The silver coin remains as the gentleman's party friends wisely made it --a subsidiary coin worth four per cent. less than its intrinsic value in gold.
Mr. Potter. Where the difference in intrinsic value is so slight I do not call the coin a base coin.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio. I hope that the gentleman from Pennsylvania will consent to refer this bill to the Committee of the Whole, or have it considered in the House as in Committee of the Whole, so that we may go over it section by section. I observe that, among other things, the bill proposes some changes in salaries which ought to be discussed. I hope the gentleman will adopt this suggestion. I make it in an entirely friendly spirit.
Mr. Kelley. As the bill is altogether a public bill, I am anxious that it shall receive the most thorough consideration. I am perfectly willing it shall go either to the Committee of the Whole, if its consideration be not thereby delayed, or that it be considered in the House as in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio. It will save time to consider the bill in the House as in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Kelley. I move, then, Mr. Speaker, that the further consideration of this bill be in the House as in Committee of the Whole.
The Speaker. Under the five-minutes rule ?
Mr. Kelley. Yes, sir; in the House under the five-minutes rule.
The Speaker. That will require unanimous consent. Is there objection to continuing the consideration of this bill in the House as in Committee of the Whole, under the five-minutes rule ?
Mr. Dawes. Will that permit the bill to be taken up section by section ?
The Speaker. It will necessarily involve that. If there be no objection the order will be made.
There was no objection.
The Speaker. After the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Garfield] has had his five minutes, the Clerk will read the first section of the bill.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio. A question has been raised here which is of considerable interest; and I happen to have in my hand some material that has been in the possession of the Committee on Appropriations, and which seems to me valuable enough to be placed on the pages of the Globe. It is in the form of a letter addressed to the former chairman of the Committee on Appropriations on two questions which have been raised here to-day by the gentleman from New York, [Mr. Potter] first, as to the intrinsic value of these debased coins; and second, as to what is known as the "profit account" of the Mint. The following is the document to which I refer:
Mint of the United States,
Philadelphia, January 25, 1870.
Sir: In reply to the communication of the 18th instant, signed by R.J. Stephens, clerk of your committee, and, in its behalf, requesting a statement showing the aggregate profits (or transient gain) arising from the nickel and cent coinage during the last five years; also the actual gold value of the nickel pieces, (or one hundred of them;) and also the gold value of one hundred of the cent pieces, I have the honor to inclose statement marked "A" showing the profits, &c., as requested.
To the second question I reply that it is usual for us to state the value of our inferior coins in currency, because the accounts of that coinage are so kept. But as the answer is required in gold, the following is deduced, namely:
The metal in 100 five-cent pieces, of seventy-seven grains, nickel and copper, cents in gold $0.55, labor, material, dies, coinage, wastage, &c 0.80, total in gold $1.35
100 three-cent pieces, nickel and copper metal, (0.23) labor. &c., (0.80,) gold $1.03
100 one-cent pieces, copper 0.20, (proposed,) labor, &c. 0.80, gold $1.00
100 two-cent pieces, bronze metal, (0.34,) labor, &c., 0.70 .... $1.04
100 one-cent pieces, bronze metal, (0.17) labor, &c., 0.70 .... $0.87
The actual whole cost to Government is nearly as great for making a cent as a five-cent piece. The above does not include the cost of the bags, &c., delivery. &c. This cost is about equal to five per cent. on the above estimates.Very respectfully, yours,
James Pollock, Director.
Mint of the United States,
Philadelphia, January 21, 1871.
Statement showing the amount of profit, on the one, two, three, and five-cent, coinage transferred to the United States Treasury from January 1, 1865, to December 31, 1869, inclusive:
Profits of the year 1865 ....... $450,000
Profits of the year 1866 ....... $875,000
Profits of the year 1867 ...... 1,200,000
Profits of the year 1868 ...... 1,000,000
Profits of the year 1869 ...... $550,000
Total ....................... $4,075,000
James Pollock, Director of the Mint.
Hon. H.L. Dawes. Chairman, Committee on Appropriations.
Mr. Kelley. I was about to suggest that the gentleman from Ohio embraced a period in his profit account before nickel was used in our coinage.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio. The facts I have stated will go into the Globe; and I wish to add that I hope the time will come when we will not have tokens, but real money; neither tokens in metal nor tokens in paper, unless they represent their full value.
The Speaker pro tempore, (Mr. Cox in the chair.) The bill is before the House for action, and the Clerk will read the first section for amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
That the Mint of the United States is hereby established as a bureau of the Treasury Department, embracing in its organization and under its control all mints for the manufacture of coin, or assay offices for the stamping of bars, which are now, or which may be hereafter, authorized by law. The chief officer of the said bureau shall be denominated the Director of the Mint, and shall be under the general direction of the Secretary of the Treasury. He shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall held his office for the term of five years, unless sooner removed by the President, upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate.
The Speaker pro tempore. The pending question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Tennessee, to strike out the following words: "and shall hold his office for the term of five years, unless sooner removed by the President, upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate."
Mr. Maynard. I modify my amendment so as to strike out the preceding words of the sentence, and add after the word "Treasury" the words "to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate;" so that it will read:
The chief officer of the said bureau shall be denominated the Director of the Mint, and shall be under the general direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman from Ohio, or any other gentleman, chooses to propose an amendment to my amendment, that he shall be removable only for cause shown the Senate, I do not object; but what I do object to is limiting the term of office to a period of five years. It is a departure from the usual practice in like cases. Difficult and delicate as are the duties of this office, if no reasons can be urged for the removal of the incumbent, he should be allowed to continue to hold his office without being embarrassed at the end of three years, or five years, or any other number of years, by a struggle or competition for his place. He should not be annoyed with matters of this kind, but should be removable only for cause shown.
The only office in which this feature of limiting the term to a fixed period exists is that of the Comptroller of the Currency, and certainly in that case it has not proved to have worked well. If we are to have genuine reform in the civil service --I mean reform in fact, honest, bona fide reform made in the civil service-- then we shall have officers removable only for cause shown. Change is not reform and unless our action applies in the direction of only removing officers for cause, we never shall have any real civil service reform.
Mr. Kelley. I think the amendment of the gentleman from Tennessee had better not be adopted. The period of five years was fixed, as I understand, so as to remove this office from the excitement of a presidential contest, and the excitement which follows such a contest. No person fills the office at this time. The selection is to be now made, and to continue for five years. By putting the period at five years it shows that Congress has determined to remove this office at least from the quadrennial distribution of places under the old cry that "to the victors belong the spoils." Under the bill as it now is such a man would be selected as would be best fitted for the duties of the office, as there would then be the expectation of his remaining there during good behavior. I hope, therefore, the bill will be permitted to pass as it stands.
Mr. Holman. Is it in order to move to amend the amendment ?
The Speaker, pro tempore. It is.
Mr. Holman. I hope the gentleman will accept a modification of his amendment, so that we shall strike out the words "for the term of five years." If he does not, I move then, instead of striking out, to insert after the words "for the term of five years," "unless sooner removed by the President, for reasons communicated by him to the Senate."
Mr. Speaker, the amendment I propose withdraws from the President the power to remove without cause. The general laws are sufficient to secure the removal of an improper person from office; and the conferring of the power of removal upon the President is one of the evils sought to be removed by the great movement now pervading the whole country in favor of civil service reform. There can be no use in talking of reforming the civil service while every bill we pass confers upon the President this extraordinary power. The bill, as it now stands, confers upon the President power to appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, this important officer for a term of five years, unless sooner removed from office by the President. The general laws of the land provide the mode in which he shall be removed from the office. But this section invests the President with the power of removing absolutely, simply signifying to the Senate his reasons for doing so, and not that he is prepared to remove the officer with the consent of the Senate.
Mr. Willard. It seems to me that the proposition of the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Holman] is entirely correct, that this officer should be left in precisely the same position as all other officers appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; that his removal should be left to the operation of the tenure-of-office law, whatever its force now may be. If the President, under that law, may remove without giving reasons, all very well. If he cannot remove without giving reasons, perhaps it is better --at all events, I think it better to put it in that way than to leave it in the way in which it stands in the bill.
The Speaker, pro tempore. The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Indiana, [Mr. Holman.]
Mr. Maynard. What will be the effect of that amendment ? How will that part of the section read if amended as proposed by the gentleman from Indiana ?
The Speaker pro tempore. The Clerk will read it as it would be amended if the words indicated in the amendment of the gentleman from Indiana were stricken out.
The Clerk read as follows:
He shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall hold his office for the term of five, years.
Mr. Dawes. Anyhow ! [Laughter.] May I move to amend by adding the word "anyhow?"
The Speaker pro tempore. The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Indiana [Holman].
The House divided; and there were--- ayes 56, noes 42; no quorum voting.
Mr. Dox. Let us have the yeas and nays on it.
The Speaker pro tempore. A quorum not having voted, the Chair will order tellers. The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Kelley] and the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Holman] will act as tellers.
The House again divided; and the tellers reported-- ayes 55, noes 69.
Mr. Holman. This is an important matter in its relation to the question of civil service reform, and I must ask the yeas and nays on it.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
The question was taken; and it was decided in the negative--- yeas 58, nays 103, not voting 77; as follows:
Yeas--- Messrs. Acker, Adams, Archer, Arthur, Biggs, Braxton, Bright, Caldwell, Cox, Dox, Du Bose, Duke, Eldridge, Henry Foster, Garrett, Getz, Hambleton, Handley, Harper, John Harris, Herndon, Hibbard, Holman, Kerr, Leach, Lewis, Marshall, McHenry, McIntyre, Merrick, Moore, Niblack, Hosea Parker, Eli Perry, Randall, Read, Edward Rice, John Rice, Rogers Roosevelt, Sherwood, Slater, Slocum, Sloss, Stevens, Storm, Swann, Terry, Dwight Townsend, Tuthill, Van Trump, Vaughan, Waddell, Wells, Willard, Williams of New York, Winchester, and Wood --53.
Nays--- Messrs. Ambler, Barber, Barry, Beatty, Beveridge, Bird, Austin Blair, James Blair, George Brooks, Buckley, Buffington, Burchard, Burdett, Benjamin Butler, Roderick Butler, Coburn, Coghlan, Conger, Cotton, Crebs, Creely, Critcher, Crossland, Dawes, Dickey, Donnan, Duell, Dunnell, Eames, Ely, Finkelnburg, Wilder Foster, Frye, Garfield, Goodrich, Griffith, Hale, Harmer, George Harris, Havens, Hay, Gerry Hazleton, John Hazleton, Hoar, Hooper, Houghton, Kelley, Kellog, Ketcham, Lamport, Lansing, Lowe, Maynard, McClelland, McCormick, McCrary, McKee, Mercur, Merriam, Benjamin Meyers, Monroe, Leonard Myers, Negley, Orr, Packard, Packer, Palmer, Peck, Perce, Platt, Porter, Potter, Prindle, Ellis Roberts, Rusk, Scofield, Seeley, Sheldon, Shellabarger, Boardman Smith, John Smith, Snapp, Snyder, Thomas Speer, Sprague, Starkweather, Stevenson, Strong, Taffie, Thomas, Washington Townsend, Turner, Twichell, Tyner, Upson, Walden, Wallace, Wheeler, Whiteley, Whitthorne, Williams of Indiana, Jeremiah Wilson, and John Wilson --103.
Not Voting--- Messrs. Ames, Averill, Banks, Barnum, Beck, Bell, Bigby, Bingham, James Brooks, Campbell, Carroll, Clarke, Cobb, Comingo, Conner, Darrall, Davis, DeLarge, Edwards, Elliott, Farnsworth, Farwell, Forker, Charles Foster, Golladay, Haldeman, Halsey, Hancock, Hanks, Hawley, Hays, Hereford, Hill, Kendall, Killinger, King, Kinsella, Lamison, Lynch, Manson, McGrew, McJunkin, McKinney, McNeely, Mitchell, Morey, Morgan, Morphis, Isaac Parker, Pendleton, Aaron Perry, Peters, Poland, Price, Rainey, Ritchie, William Roberts, Robinson, Sawyer, Sessions, Shanks, Shober, Shoemaker, Worthington Smith, Wilton Speer, Stoughton, Stowell, St. John, Sutherland, Sypher, Voorhees, Wakeman, Waldron, Walls, Warren, Washburn, and Young --77.
So the amendment was rejected.
The question recurred upon Mr. Maynard's amendment.
Mr. Maynard. I move pro forma to strike out the last word, and I do it for the purpose of calling the attention of the House to the third section of the bill, which I will ask the Clerk to read.
The Clerk read as follows:
Sec. 3. That the officers of each mint shall be a superintendent, an assayer, a melter and refiner, and a coiner, and for the Mint at Philadelphia an engraver, all to be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Mr. Maynard. The object of my amendment is to have the appointment of the head of this bureau in the same condition as the appointment of the officers provided for in that third section. As I have already remarked, if there is anything in what is called "reform of the civil service," it is that it is desirable to give competent and efficient officers permanence in their respective places. I would strike out this provision in the first section limiting the term of office to five years, which would make the office at the end of five years a bone of contention and an object of strife. If my amendment be adopted, an officer who has proved competent, efficient, and faithful, will remain in his office, as is provided in reference to these offices included in the third section. That, as I understand it, is the essence, the quintessence, the marrow, the meaning, if there is a meaning, of what is called the reform of the civil service. It is to prevent the continual terminating of the terms of honest and efficient men, and substituting others who may not be so efficient. I now withdraw my amendment to the amendment.
Mr. Willard. I suggest to the gentleman that he move to insert, in place of the words which he proposes to strike out, these words, "and shall hold his office during good behaviour."
Mr. Maynard. I have no objection to that; it will accomplish the same end. It is in the direction of my amendment.
Mr. Willard. I move, then, as an amendment to the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Tennessee, to insert, in place of the words to be stricken out, the words "and shall hold his office during good behavior."
Mr. Kelley. Does the gentleman mean to say that he shall hold his office for five years, and during good behavior ?
Mr. Willard. No, sir; the gentleman from Tennessee proposes to strike out the five years. My reason for making this motion is that it will put the bill in the form in which I think it ought to be, and in which the gentleman from Tennessee desires it to be.
The question was taken upon Mr. Willard's amendment to the amendment; and it was disagreed to-- ayes fourteen, noes not counted.
The question recurred upon Mr. Maynard's amendment; and being put, it was disagreed to.
The Clerk resumed the reading of the bill. The twelfth section was read, as follows:
Sec. 12. That there shall be allowed to the Director of the Mint an annual salary of $5,500, and necessary traveling expenses in visiting the different mints and assay offices; to the superintendents of the mints at Philadelphia and San Francisco, each $5,000; to the assayers, melters and refiners, and coiners of those mints, each $3,500; to the engraver of the Mint at Philadelphia, $3,500; to the superintendent of the mint at Carson City, and all other mints now established, or hereafter to be established, an annual salary of not exceeding $3,500; and to the assayer, melter and refiner, and coiner of such institutions, each a salary of not exceeding $3,000, the amount of such salaries to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury; to the assistants and clerks such annual salaries shall be allowed as the Director of the Mint may determine, with the approbation of the Secretary of the Treasury; and to the workmen shall be allowed such wages, to be determined by the superintendent, as may be customary and reasonable, according to their respective stations and occupations, and approved by the Director of the Mint; and the salaries provided for in this section, and the wages of the workmen permanently engaged, shall be payable in monthly installments.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio. I move to strike out that section. I make the motion not because I think it ought to be stricken out without something being substituted for it, but because in the short time I have had to look at it I have not been able to prepare such amendments as ought to be offered. Here is a general and sweeping increase of salaries. For instance, the salary of the first officer named in the bill is increased over and above what the Director of the Mint at Philadelphia now gets, $1,000 per annum, with a general sweeping, roving commission for expenses of travel to the other mints. All the lower officers, I believe every one with a single exception that I have noticed, have a considerable increase in their salaries by a sweeping clause, which takes in all the persons attached to the various branch mints, and in a single sentence increases their salaries. I do mot believe the House is willing in this general wholesale way, in what purports to be merely a codification of existing laws, a consolidation of them, to raise the salaries of a large number of officers scattered all over the country, at the different mints and assay offices that have already been established.
I have only had time to run over the leading officers and their salaries as compared with the amounts exhibited in the estimates for appropriations for the salaries of the same officers, but in every instance I see a considerable increase of salary. If you put up one salary in one department beyond what it has been hitherto, unless you have graded it and considered it relatively to all other officers of the Government of a similar grade, you will set every one of them on to have their salaries raised.
For instance, I observe, as I said before, that the person put down here as Director has his salary increased $1,000 a year, together with a general roving commission to travel, and to have his traveling expenses paid. There is now in the Philadelphia mint a treasurer who gets $3,500 a year. This bill puts up the corresponding or relative officer to $5,000. There is a superintendent of the mint at San Francisco who now gets $4,500; this bill puts his salary up $500, The office of engraver is a new one created by this bill. There is a superintendent of the mint at Carson City whose salary is incidentally increased $1,000, from $2,500 to $3,500.
Mr. Farnsworth. The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Kelley] has but this moment assured me that there was no increase of salaries by this bill.
Mr. Garfield, of Ohio. I have said that by this section, as compared with the book of estimates of appropriations, which is always fully up to the law, there is in every case, so far as I have noticed, an increase of salary.
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. Burchard. Before the question is put on striking out this section, I desire to move some amendments to perfect it. In line two I move to strike out "five hundred," so that it will read "five thousand dollars;" in line five strike out "five thousand" and insert "four thousand five hundred;" in lines seven, nine, and twelve, strike out "five hundred," and in line fourteen strike out "three thousand" and insert "two thousand five hundred."
Mr. Maynard. Why not propose one amendment at a time ?
Mr. Burchard. If the section shall be amended as I propose, it will then read as follows:
That there shall be allowed to the Director of the Mint an annual salary of $5,000, and necessary traveling expenses in visiting the different mints and assay offices; to the superintendents of the mints at Philadelphia and San Francisco, each $4,500; to the assayers, melter, and refiners, and coiners of those mints, each $3,000; to the engraver of the Mint at Philadelphia, $3,000; to the superintendent of the mint at Carson City, and all other mints now established, or hereafter to be established, an annual salary of not exceeding $3,000; and to the assayer, melter and refiner, and coiner of such institutions, each a salary of not exceeding $2,500, the amount of such salaries to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, &c.
That will leave the salaries as they are at the present time, according to the book of estimates referred to by the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Garfield] excepting that there is an additional officer created, a Superintendent of the Mint at Philadelphia in place of a Director. The salary of the Director of the Mint at Philadelphia now is $4,500. This bill will create an additional officer, a Superintendent of the Mint at Philadelphia, with a salary of $4,500, the same as that of the superintendent at 8an Francisco. That increases the expenditures of the Mint by $4,500, and the salary of the Director, even by my amendment, is increased $500. Now, it seems to me that is a sufficient increase.
If any objection is made to voting upon all the amendments together, I will move them one by one. I propose to leave the salaries as at present, except the increase of the salary of the Director by $500. As this bill now stands it proposes to raise the salary of the engraver from $3,000 to $3,500, of the superintendent of the mint at Carson City from $3,000 to $3,500, and of the assayers, melters and refiners, and coiners at Philadelphia and San Francisco from $3,000 to $3,500.
Mr. Kelley. I had not had before me the book of estimates, but have appealed for information to sources that ought to have been well informed and reliable. The information given me was that the total cost under this bill would be at about the rate of the present cost, with the addition of the salary of the Director of the Mint, which was a new office, and that was in accordance with what I stated. If I understood the distinguished gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Garfield] correctly, he said that this bill not only proposes to increase the pay, but to increase the officers, and especially that the engraver of the Mint was a new officer. Sir, the first mint bill of the country provided for the office of engraver. There was then not to be found in the country a die-sinker, but there was a very eminent steel and copper engraver, and his services could be had by the Government. The dies have always been cut by an officer known as the engraver of the Mint. The Mint could not have issued a coin without an engraver or a die-sinker. It was in consideration to change the name of the officer to that of die-cutter, but having respect to the traditions of the office, it was concluded not to do so.
As for $5,000, it will not be too large a salary for a man charged with the business of superintending all the mints and assay offices in the country; and if he is to give personal examination to the mechanical and scientific departments of the business; if he is personally to see to the fidelity of the "picks," as they are called; in other words, if he is to see that the coins taken for tests are taken miscellaneously, and are not picked coins; if he is to give personal attention to the various duties of his office, he must at times travel from coast to coast, from one mint city to another, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, to Carson City, and other points at which there are mints.
As to the other officers, if it be true that the bill proposes an increase of their salary, I do not ask that such provisions be retained. I do not see that while the Director of the Mint is to become the mere superintendent under a directing head, there should be any increase of his pay. Had I examined the estimates for salaries I should have convened the committee, that we might have revised our action upon a matter in which I have been mistaken in common with other gentlemen on the committee. I think it would be injudicious to reduce the pay of the proposed chief of the bureau as set forth in this bill. I shall resist such a reduction, but the other amendments I assent to at once.
The Speaker pro tempore. The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. Burchard] which takes precedence of the motion to strike out.
Mr. Maynard. As an amendment to the amendment of the gentleman from Illinois I move to strike out "$5,000," in the second line of section twelve, and insert "$4,500." The office of Director of the Mint is a new office which we are now creating --the head of a new bureau. In adjusting the salary of this officer we ought to fix it so as to correspond in some degree to the salary of other heads of bureaus. I believe there are at present but two chiefs of bureaus --the First Comptroller of the Treasury and the Comptroller of the Currency-- whose annual salary is $5,000. Most of the heads of bureaus receive a salary of but $3,000.
The Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and the officers of similar rank in the State, Internal, and Post Office Departments, receive a salary of but $3,000; and I can see no reason why the head of this proposed new bureau should be paid more than we now pay to the best paid officers of corresponding grade in other branches of the service, whose pay, it will be remembered, was fixed in a period of high prices, when money had much less purchasing power than at present. It seems to me inopportune and in every way out of place to propose an increase of salary at this time and in this connection. In order to have an opportunity to say what I desired to say on this point I have proposed to fix this salary at $4,500, which, in my judgment, is enough, though I would not seriously contend against making it $5,000. But more than that I think we certainly ought not to pay.
Mr. Dawes. I would like to inquire of the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Kelley] whether, as a question of fact, the salaries of these officers are increased by this bill ?
Mr. Kelley. The salary of the proposed Director of the Mint is not increased, because there has heretofore been no such office ?
Mr. Dawes. This is a new office ?
Mr. Kelley. A new office, a new bureau.
Mr. Dawes. The other officers take the name of "superintendents," I see.
Mr. Kelley. Yes, sir.
Mr. Dawes. Is their salary increased above what they receive now when they are called "directors?"
Mr. Kelley. So it appears from the production of the book of estimates. The bill in that respect is as it was sent to us.
Mr. Dawes. I am aware of that; I want to ascertain what is the increase.
Mr. Kelley. The increase will be ascertained by looking at the book of estimates. Inasmuch as the committee received the assurance that there was no increase, I assent to the amendments which propose to fix the salaries at the present standard.
Mr. Burchard. I modify my amendment so that each proposition may be voted on separately. I move, in the first place, to strike out in the second line of section twelve "five hundred;" so as to fix the salary of the Director of the Mint at $5,000 instead of $5,500.
Mr. Holman. Mr. Speaker, is that amendment subject to further amendment ?
The Speaker pro tempore. It is.
Mr. Holman [who later claimed he did not know]. I move, then, to strike out "$3,000" and insert "$4,500," so as to make the salary the same as that fixed by existing law. Forty-five hundred dollars is the amount paid at present to the Director of the Mint, who is also the Superintendent of the Mint at Philadelphia. It cannot be said the duties to be performed by this new officer will be more responsible and laborious than those which have been performed by the Director of the Mint. We paid during the whole period of the war, and during the whole period since the termination of the war, no higher salary than $4,500 to this officer, who, besides being Director of the Mint in Philadelphia, was also superintendent of the various branch mints throughout the United States. It is now proposed to pay this head of a bureau, who is only to discharge the duty of Director of the Mint, $1,000 more than we have hitherto paid, when the same officer has not only been Director of the Mint, but superintendent of all the branch mints and assay offices throughout the United States. In other words, sir, we reduce the duties of the officer very largely, while at the same time we are asked to increase his pay as largely.
Now, sir, when the country demands some reform in this civil service, it is quite remarkable that this bill should be brought forward, and that, too, at a time when an effort is being made to reduce the expenses of the Government, providing not only for new officers, but that the salaries of these new officers, as well as of a large number of officers in the various branch mints of the country, shall be increased at the rate of from twenty to twenty-five per cent. over the extravagant rates paid during the war. An attempt to increase the salary of the Director of the Mint beyond $4,500 failed even at that time. Even then it was deemed an ample salary. Now, by this bill it is proposed to be increased to $5,500, and even the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. Burchard] economical as he has been, proposes by his amendment to fix the salary at a rate of $500 higher than it is at present, and $500 more than it was during the war, and that, too, at a time when the Director of the Mint had to perform besides the duty of general superintendence of the branch mints, which, by this bill, this officer is not called upon to discharge. I undertake to say that in extravagance, and in encouragement to profligate expenditure of the public money, no section ever came before Congress equal to the section which it is now proposed to strike out.
So defective is the section in form, and it confers such extraordinary powers upon the head of this bureau, that it will be dangerous to attempt to amend it in any other way than by a motion to strike it out altogether. The proposition not only to increase the number of officers, but to increase all of these salaries to a rate higher than is paid to any other officers of the Government of a like character, is, it seems to me, an insult to the intelligence of this House and the country, and I hope that the section will at once be stricken out without hesitation on the part of the members of this House.
Mr. Dawes. Mr. Speaker, I hope the House will not pass lightly over this matter of increase of salaries and increase of offices. Here is a proposition to create a new bureau in the Treasury Department, and the first thing is to give the head of this bureau a larger salary than any head of bureau has at the present time, and the salaries of all of his subordinates are to be increased also. It is perfectly apparent, if you do this, you must go into the general business of increasing salaries. No man can stand up here when the other heads of bureaus come in, as they do annually, with their annual solicitations to this House for increase of their salaries, if you now create a new bureau, and put the salaries of its officers at a higher rate than any officers are now paid in the Treasury Department. I have no doubt some of those officers ought to have their salaries increased, while others I do not believe ought to be increased at all.
Ever since I have been here, or for many years, I have tried to get the heads of these Departments to take hold of the subject themselves. If there be anybody who should know the different offices and responsibilities of the different heads of bureaus, it ought to be the heads of Departments; but up to this time no head of Department, no Cabinet officer who has these bureaus under him, has undertaken any intelligent or general system of arranging the duties, salaries, or compensation of the officers under him. For twenty-five or thirty years they have gone on in the way our fathers went, adding to the force but making no other change. Men have come before the Committee on Appropriations, and other committees, asking for an increase of their force, and when questions were put to them, "Does not your experience in that office suggest something by way of improvement in reorganization, or in some other way that will add to its efficiency without increasing the force?" they have been compelled to say there ought to be some reform in that direction. What do we do now ? We add to the many bureaus in the Treasury Department by this bill, against which I say nothing; and the committee bring in a bill prepared outside, as has been stated very probably by the committee, fixing a scale of compensation higher than that paid to any other officer in the Treasury Department for like services.
I hope, therefore, the House will scrutinize this matter at the threshold, and so act on this bill and these salaries as to meet the issue hereafter, as we will be compelled to do, and not put up the salaries in this new bureau at such a high figure as to produce discontent at the injustice done to the heads of bureaus in every other Department. And, sir, this doing it in this way is fruitful of evil in every respect and of demoralization in every Department. Now, therefore, that we talk so much about reform in the civil service, let our attention be arrested to this question of salaries in this new bill. And with that view I rose simply to move that, in view of the lateness of the hour, the House adjourn, and that we take up this question of salaries fresh on the morrow, so that we may apply to it our serious attention and adopt no scale that will be in the way hereafter.
The question being put on the motion of Mr. Dawes, that the House do now adjourn, it was agreed to; and accordingly (at three o'clock and forty-five minutes p.m.) the House adjourned.