Page images
PDF
EPUB

Tharsday)

GOWER-CLARKE-JOHNSTON.

[February 5th.

I shall vote for the largest amount that has been There are many matters far more important than mentioned here.

that of building a State House, or any kind of Mr. GOWER. I think there is much in the institution. And I do not desire, when the time arguments in favor of filling this blank with a comes and the emergency arrives, to have this high number. Should the State borrow the constitution so arranged as to stand in the way school fund, both present and prospective, that of the progress and prosperity of the people. will, I suppose, at once, create a debt of some Now I am afraid that some members of this three hundred thousand dollars. Other cx- convention are not so willing to trust the people penses will necessarily arise, which will proba- after all. If the people send foolish men hero bly require something beyond what the consti- to represent them and make laws for them, who tution now allows. We have all along been ful- will spend their money for them unnecessarily, lr up to the limit prescribed by the constitution, it is their business, not ours. We are not sent and according to the remarks of some gentlemen here to guard and watch the people, and place a here, it seems that we have already exceeded check upon them and prevent them from acting the constitutional limit. Gentlemen have re- for their own good. And yet it seems to be the ferred here to so many objects, which need the idea of many members of this convention that care and encouragement of the State, that it unless we so check the government we are not seems to me the sum of five hundred thousand doing our duty. I shall vote for the largest dollars is as small a sum as we should insert in amount here, for I beliere the time will come in this section. I am as much in favor of keeping less than ten years, when circumstances will out of debt as any one can be, but I do not wish arise that will require this State to go into debt to cramp the State. I have no desire to throw to the amount now named. If those circuma debt upon posterity, but I think the public stances do not arise, then the debt need not be good really requires that some material change incurred, and no harm will be done. should be made in this portion of the old con

Mr. JOHNSTON. I difier in toto from my stitution,

friend from Johnson, [.Vr. Clarke,] when he Mr. CLARKE, of Henry. I will state that I says we are not sent here to place limitations and tind upon examination that the school fund ex- restrictions upon the future action of the legisceeds three hundred thousand dollars.

lature. I think that is our business, and I think Mr. CLARKE, of Johnson. I have but few it is highly important that we should do so, it words to say upon this subject, and I should not we are to believe the half that has been said in say these words did I not conceive that there this hall about the rascality and villainy of the was a very radical difference of opinion in the legislature. 'I regret that the sum of one hunminds of the members of this convention as to dred thousand dollars was stricken out of this the nature of government, and what it is proper section. I am in favor of that sum, and think it for us to do here. I understand it to be a well is amply sufficient for all our purposes. My reason settled axiom, to which all parties agree, that for thinking so is this : Gentlemen will recollect the penple are the source of power; that all po- that this state is growing and progressing raplitical power comes from them. We are sitting idly, and if they will look at the last report of here by virtue of that power, and are to make a the auditor, they will find for the next two fiscal government to be carried on by virtue of that years the estimated amount of receipts over the power. We are to make a representative gov- estimated expenditures is two hundred and fifty ernment in which the public voice is to be ex- thousand dollars, which added to the one hunpressed, and through which the people are to dred thousand dollars which the state would go act. This proposition is what? It is a propo- into debt under this provision as it was reported, sition to tie up, not the hands of this govern- would afford over three hundred thousand dolment, but the hands of the people. We are lars for the expenditure of the State every year called upon to put a check, not upon the gov- for these extraordinary objects. The rate of erament, but upon the people themselves. If taxation now is forty mills on every one hundred there must be a check, I am willing to give the dollars. That can be changed at any time, and government a very large latitude here. I shall if the State desires to raise a larger amount of Fote, perhaps, to make the sum to be inserted money by taxation at any time than it now here five hundred thousand dollars, for the sim- raises, it can easily do so. There has never pie reason that five hundred thousand dollars been a time in the history of our State when it Dow is not larger, in comparison, than the one was so important that some restrictions should bundred thousand dollars which we had ten be placed upon the subject of state indebtedness, Fears ago, when the present constitution was than the present. The people are all wild, all framed and adopted. I hope we shall make a crazy upon the subject of making money.

We constitution here under which the government all deem ourselves rich, or soon about to be. shall be established, and under which it will be Probably two years hence it will be otherwise. enabled to work so that in ten years we shall And I tell you, gentlemen, that this is the sheet not find ourselves, as we are now, under a gov- anchor of the security of this state, and we ought ernment so cramped as to be inadequate to the to cling to it. wants and necessities of the people. I can con

I believe with the gentleman from Jefferson, ceive of many things which will call for the ex- [Mr. Wilson,] that the true interpretation of penditure of money, that are vital to the protec- the words "debt or liability,” is a bonded debt. tion, happiness and prosperity of our people. It is so considered by all the lawyers with whom

Thursday]

TRAER-GILLASPY-CLARKE-HALL-PATTERSON.

[February 5th

I conversed during the session of the legislature rects and authorizes. Gentlemen upon the one just adjourned, except Mr. Cloud of Muscatine. side say that it means a bound debt, while genAnd if gentlemen will observe the article re- tlemen on the other side contend that the Conported for our consideration by the Committee stitution did not distinguish between the two on State Debts, they will perceive that it is in a kinds of debt, but that if the money is owed it much more contracted form than the old consti- is a debt. Now I do not believe that the Contution. The old constitution says " debt or stitution refers particularly to a bonded debt; debts, liability or liabilities,” while the provision I believe it means any debt that draws interunder consideration says " the credit of the est. This provision was intended to prevent an Stato shall not, in any manner, be given or loan- addititional burden being put upon the people ed to, or in aid of,” &c. That provision could in the shape of interest, by way of a bond or not be interpreted as the gentleman from Ben- anything else. Now it makes no difference ton, (Mr. Traer,] interprets it. And I say again whether you draw a warrant upon the treasury that there never has been any time when it was to bear interest after a certain date, or whether more necessary to throw these restrictions about you give a bond bearing interest. The two the legislature than it is now.

things are the same in principle. A simple warMr. TRAER. I will state to the gentleman rant not drawing interest would not be a debt from Lee, [Mr. Johnston,] that I have not put within the meaning of the Constitution ; if it any construction upon this repart. ! have only draws interest it would be a constituttional stated the construction of the gentleman from debt, whether it is a bonded debt or not. Now Jefferson, [Mr. Wilson,) and I asked him if he our State has been in this condition, and I would put the same construction upon this report that be willing to give it a little morelatitude in he did upon the old constitution. I put no con- this matter. There is now a permanent debt struction upon it at all.

against the State of $100,000. And there are Mr. GILLASPY. I would ask to whom the other liabilities which I suppose this provison State would execute her bonds if she borrowed of the Constitution may be construed to emthis school money?

brace. I do not think there can be any harm or Mr. CLARKE, of Henry. Having endorsed danger resulting from extending this limit, the gentleman from Wapello, (Mr. Gillaspy;] as and I shall therefore vote to extend the limit to one of the honest members here, I must see that $200,000, as about what is called for by the nemy endorsement is kept good. And lest the cessities of the State at this time. convention should suppose that the gentleman Mr. PATTERSON. I voted to strike out the was indulging in a quiz, and was · not perfectly sum $100,000, believing that a majority of the honest, in my opinion, in the question be put to Convention were in favor of extending the limits me, I will give an answer to it. I will say that herein prescribed. But I am opposed to the if the State should borrow the money of the sum of $500,000, and shall vote for the lowest · school fund, it would not have to give their sum that can be agreed upon here. I am satisbonds to any one. Under the enlarged powers fied that if we go up to $300,000, or a million proposed to be given in this constitution, the of dollars, I believe that the State would reach State would merely borrow the money and be the amount at once, as soon as the debts can be debtor to the school fund for the amount it would contracted. receive, which would be about three hundred Mr. GILLASPY. I desire to say to the genthousand dollars. And the sums additional to tleman from Johnson, [Mr. Clarke,) and the that, that would be coming in annually from the gentleman from Henry, (Mr. Clarke,] that to United States and sales of lands, would soon in my mind, they have said more about the dear crease the fund to five hundred thousand dollars. people” than I have done, or any other gentleAnd that can be appropriated to such works as man upon this floor, and yet they are throwing they may see fit. Now as the gentleman has out insinuations here, of gentlemen upon this expressed such confidence in "the dear people,” noor being afraid to trust "the dear people.” and in their integrity and good intentions, he I think this comes with bad grace from gentlecertainly can have no objection to their taking men who talk so much about their willinguess charge of this fund and appropriating it for the to trust the people, and then when they come to general good, constituting the state a debtor to vote show that they are not disposed to trust the the school fund, and paying the interest upon it, people. I will just call the attention of gentleinstead of having it as it is now.

men to the fourth section of this report, where Mr. HALL. So far as I am concerned per- they can perceive that the report has left every. sonally, I am not particular whether this sum is thing to the people that is proper and right. put at $100,000, $200,000, or $300,000, pro- We say we are willing to trust the people to vided the section contains the principle I stand contract such debts as are absolutely necessary, upon, to have the interest upon the indebtedness but before such debts shall be contracted they of the State not become oppressive upon the shall be presented to the people in such a man. people. I believe it would be better to have ner as to let them understand the object of the the amount increased beyond $100,000, if for debts to be so contracted. I am willing the no other purpose than to get rid of these very people should vote $20,000,000 if they think questions upon which gentlemen here and else- proper, for any object of internal imorovement where disagree. It is a fact that this State has in this State, provided they do it understandgone into debt more than the Constitution di-lingly. I have as great confidence in the people

Thursday]

HARRIS.

[February 5th.

as any other member can have. And while I have been made. I do not propose, howsay that I am willing to trust the people, I de- ever, to speak as to what particular matters were sire also to show by my votes that I am willing not necessary. But I believe that the affairs of to trust them. I undertake to say that the the State could have been conducted in such a fourth section extends over the broadest possible manner as not to violate the Constitution, as I ground, and covers every contingency that may believe it has been violated, if that amount of arise in the progress in this State.

indebtedness really exists. I believe that all the And I will say for the benefit of the gentle- means necessary to carry out the proper and leman from Benton, [Mr. Traer,] while I am up, gitimate purposes of the government could be that we have very high authority for the posi- raised without any infraction of the Constitution taken by the gentleman from Jefferson, tion. So far as tho necessity of creating any [Mr. Wilson,) and the gentleman from Lee, State debt is concerned at this particular time, (Mr. Johnston, ] in regard to the proper con- I am not disposed to go farther chan is necessary struction of the provision of the Convention as to carry on the government, and if I may be alit now stands in relation to debts and liabili- lowed the expression, keep the wheels of State ties. I understand that after the delivering of well greased. the message of the Governor to the General As- So far as this idea of creating and erecting sembly, the trustees of the State University me- these public buildings and other public improve. morialized the Legislature to make an appropri- ments are concerned, of which gentlemen have ation of $100,0000 for their use, and it was not spoken so much here, it is to prevent that I considered, if they had made it that it would am opposed to allowing the State to incur this have been a violation of the present Constitu- amount of indebtedness. I think if there is any tion of this State. That, I think, should be subject which should properly go before the authority enough for the gentleman from Ben- people for them to act upon, to consider like the ton.

democracy of olden time, to sit upon as a jury, Mr. HARRIS. There seems to be a diversity if you please, it is this very system of entering of views in regard to this matter, and it may upon these public improvements. So far as be well enough for me to state the reasons for erecting the State Capitol and other public buildthe course I propose to pursue when the ques- ings is to be considered, I understand that there tion comes up for action. If I understand the are ample provisions already made to enable , message of his Excellency, Governor Grimes, to the State to get along for fifty years to come, the last Legislature, I endorse it to a very great and to have as good accommodations as we have extent. There are some things in it I do not here, without incurring any indebtedness whatconcur in, but I concur in all the monetary ever. And it is only when the wealth of the portion of it. I understand him to take the State and the amount of the tax paying properground of no more State indebtedness than we ty of the State have become such that the can possibly get along with. That I agree to; amount of revenue can be increased without I believe it is just as detrimental for a State to s saddling indebtedness upon the State, that it go into debt and incur the necessity of pay- should be considered proper to embark upon ing a large amount of interest, as it is for an this system of internal improvements. I do not individual to do so. And with our revenue sys- think that there is any necessity, at present, of tem, regulated as it is, which was so fully ex- creating a State debt of more than $100,000. I plained by my friend from Lee, [Mr. Johnston,] certainly consider the remark of the gentleman I cannot conceive of any necessity for the State from Lee, [Mr. Johnston,] that the people of goiog into debt more than the present Constitu- this State have become wild upon the subject of tional limit, the sum of $100,000. And when the speculation and getting rich, a remark that proper time shall come I will vote to retain that every gentleman here can fully endorse. sum of $100,000, which was stricken out of As for this idea of the State assuming this this section. I should not feel willing to go school fund, and giving bonds, upon which inhome to my constituents without at least being terest is to be paid, I am opposed to it entirely. placed upon the record as in favor of retaining And I believe the idea is only mooted as somethat sum. However, I did not get up simply to thing which may be done for the purpose of cretell how I shall vote, for that could be under- ating a basis for a banking system. If we canstood by all when I come to vote.

not have banks without making the indebtedBut there is another idea in connection with ness of the State the basis of that banking systhis matter to which I desire to call the atten- tem, then I am opposed to having any banks. tion of the committee. In referring to the in- I know that so far as the people I represent here debtness of the State at this time, it is stated are concerned, if there is any one provision of to be some $128,000. And gentlemen seem to the Constitution with which they are entirely suppose that because that is really a fact, it satisfied, and which they would, under no cirmust have been legitimately incurred, and that cumstances, have changed, it is the one in referperhaps there has been no needless expenditure ence to State indebtedness. I know they would of the money of the State in creating that frown upon any attempt to change that provisamount of indebtedness. Now, I have only to ion, more than they would upon any other say that my impression is, that it has not been change that could be made in the Constitution. properly created, and that there have been, And I believe gentlemen will find it so all over perhaps, some expenditures which should not the State whenever the sovereign people come to

Thursday)

TRAER--HALL-WINCHESTER-PALMER-GIBSON-URRIS.

[February 5th.

ter,

was.

express their opinion in regard to the mat- proportion than the actual necessities of the

State. Mr. TRAER. I have no desire to make any

I think it would be well, however, to authorspeech upon this subject. But I wish to say å ise the contracting of debts to the extent I have few words in reply to the gentleman from a- named for the purpose of building the necessary

That was pello (Mr. Gillaspy]. In speaking of his au- charitable institutions in this state. thority for his side of the question, he referred my object in proposing the amount I have proto the opinions expressed by the gentleman from posed here. Jefferson, (Mr. Wilson), and the gentleman from

Mr. PALMER. I would ask the gentleman Lee (Mr. Johnston). Now I have no disposition from Benton [Mr. Traer] how he makes out that to cavil at their decision in regard to this the Democrats have violated the constitution in matter. I have the utmost confidence in their relation to State indebtedness ? judgment; still I must say I am not inclined to Mr. TRAER. The gentleman misunderstands give up the position I took before, that the con- me. I said that I wiis glad that the Democrats stitution of the State has been violated. And I have endorsed the action of the Republican party. will read a statement from the message of the And the gentleman from Wapello [Mr. GillasGovernor in answer to the position taken by py], the gentleman from Lee [Mr. Johnston), gentlemen that nothing but bonds create a State and the gentleman from Appanoose [Mr. Harris] debt within the meaning of this constitution. have cited their action as good authority for their And I will show that the state is already in debt proposed action here. I am glad they have over and above the amount which the constitu- committed themselves, so that they cannot go tion specifies shall be the limit. In summing up out from this convention and charge this upon and giving a detailed account of the indebted- the Republican party as a Republican measure. ness of the State, the Governor says:

Mr. GIBSON. I charge it upon the Republi" There were outstanding, unpaid auditors' have pursued. I would leave it with the Re

can party, and do not justify the course they warrants due on the first Nov., 1857, amount. publican party to give their own explanation. ing to

$11,567 64

Mr. HARRIS. I did not before understand There are bonds of the State due

that the gentleman from Benton [Mr. Traer] first of January, 1857, .

71,442 00 Due to the School Fund, Sept.

the keeper of the reputation of the govern15, 1859,

or. Now, if I know anything about the histo

5,000 00 Due to the School Fund July 15,

ry of parties in regard to this matter, we are

not to be suspected of getting upon the Repub1866,

40,000 00

lican platform. And I suspect if his ExcellenTotal indebtedness, .

$128,009 64

cy was called upon to express his private and Now there is an amount of $71,000 that this would be found that they have undergone some

individual views in regard to this matter, it State owes on her bonds. A great portion of that change. And so far from our getting upon the debt I suppose was contracted before the pres- Republican platform, if the Republican party ent constitution

was formed, or soon afterwards. has ever had any platform, in reference to State Mr. HALL. That has been paid already. Mr. TRAER. That may be, but how has it Democratic platform. And not only upon that

indebtedness, his Excellency has got upon the been paid ? By contracting another debt-and the violation of the constitution remains the question, but upon other questions. And hence

we are not estopped from speaking with respect

to his Excellency, or the Republican party, so I am much obliged to my Democratic friends far as the position of the Democratic party in here for coming forward and supporting the ac- regard to State indebtedness is concerned. tion of the legislature and the executive, and I Now, I understand that so far as this portion hope they will not go out of this convention and of the constitution is concerned, which has been endeavor to make capital against the party to aptly termed by the gentleman from Lee (Mr. which I belong, by citing the action of the pres- Johnston) the sheet anchor of the State, it has ent executive of the State, as they tried to do been and is yet a Democratic measure. I only before I came here.

regret that some of those whom we had a right Mr. WINCHESTER. I desire to say in sup- to look to for support, and who ought to have port of my motion to fill this blank with the been the pillars of the democracy in this matwords "two hundred and fifty thousand,” that I ter, are disposed to become a little loose in have heard the people in my district say more their notions about it. I understand that the about this question of State indebtedness than sentiment of the Democratic party of this State any otber question, except that in regard tobank- is against State indebtedness, and if there is ing. It was the prevailing opinion among them any other party that has a sentiment against that the sum to which the Stafe has heretofore State indebtedness, they are but endorsing the been limited, might, perhaps, bear increasing to old Democratic doctrine. I do not understand, two hundred thousand or two hundred and fif- therefore, what right the gentleman from Benty thousand dollars. Consequently, I shall vote ton has to catechize us, as to how we shall speak for the amount I have named, and no greater about the Republican party, or his Excellency; amount. I believe that the revenue of this State or any body else, in regard to this matter of will increase from this time forward faster in State indebtedness. It gives me pleasure to

same.

Thursday)

BUNKER-HARRIS-SOOTT---SOLOMON.

(February 5th.

agree with any gentleman, with whom it might that one hundred thousand dollars is sufficient have been reasonably supposed I would disa- for all necessary purposes. It has been the gree, upon any question; and I do not under- pride of our State that its demands upon its citstand that I thereby place myself under any izens have been comparatively light as compared bonds, or that in consequence of so agreeing, I with other States. Our taxes have been small, am not to have the privilege of talking about and I trust the expenditures of this State will the position of either of the parties in this never exceed, to any great extent, the amount of State. I do not understand that I commit any- revenue derived from the taxes imposed upon body but myself in this matter. Nor do I think the people of this State. And I hope gentlemen I should be debarred from referring to his Ex- will take into consideration the fact that wbatcellency, because he is understood as differing ever amount of indebtedness the constitution with us in politics. I will say, however, that so may permit the State to contract, will certainly far as this, and some other questions, perhaps, be contracted and that speedily. It will surely are concerned, I regard him as occupying the speedily become a burden and incubus upon the Democratic platform.

tax-payers of this State

My opinion is that Mr. BUNKER. I do not believe there can be if we were to fix this limit as high as twenty milvery much capital made out of this little mat- lions of dollars, the legislature would in five ter, any way you may take it.

years bring the State into debt to the full amount Mr. HARRIS. I had no desire to make any of the limitation. Now the object of this amount capital out of it, but only to reply to what I of indebtedness which the State is to be allowed thought was an improper insinuation.

to incur, as I understand it, is to provide a conMr. BUNKER. We have provided in a section tingent fund to draw on. When this constituof this report that we have already passed over, tion was formed one hundred thousand dollars that the State shall never go into debt by em- was supposed to be a sufficient contingent fund barking her capital in any internal improvement to meet all the exigencies that might arise. But wliatever. We have excluded from our consti- so soon as the matter was determined that we tution the provision that has got many of the might incur an indebtedness of one hundred older States into debt, and hence I cannot con- thousand dollars, the whole of it was absorbed ceive that there is any danger of involving the almost immediately, and we went up to the highState very seriously in debt. We have cut off est point we could reach. And if it could be put all the means to do so. There is nothing left up to any amount, however high, we would soon but the erection of the public buildings of the reach that amount. So that for the purpose of State for which money can be expended. So far a contingent fund in case of necessity, one hunas I am concerned, I am not anxious to raise the dred thousand dollars is as good as ten million amount to which the State may become indebt- dollars. For if you were to put in a provision ed above the sum of one hundred thousand dol- here that the State shall be allowed to incur an lars, if that will meet the necessary expenses of indebtedness of ten millions of dollars, the State the State, without our taxes becoming oppressive would soon reach that sum, and the amount to the people.

left for contingencies would be no greater than It has been said that the state has already it is now. transcended the limits prescribed by the pres- There is another view of this matter which I ent constitution. Now, if my memory is cor- hope members will take, and that is, that should rect, the very first legislature under the present any contingency arise where it would be absoconstitution contracted a debt of nearly one hun- lutely necessary for the State to have more dred thousand dollars, and that debt has been means than this section now provides, this report hanging over the State ever since. At the pre- has abundantly provided for that matter, by alsent time the indebtedness of the State appears lowing the legislature to submit a proposition to to be a little over one hundred thousand dollars. the people for whatever expenditure might be In view of these circumstances, and in view of desired, and thus appropriations could be the fact that there is a project for turning the made, if the legislature saw fit, for all those school fund over to the State, making the State charitable institutions desired, and for whatever responsible to the fund for the safe keeping other purposes might be considered necessary. thereof-though I do not know what will be I see no necessity for raising this amount at all, done-I think I shall vote to authorise the State and shall certainly vote for the lowest amount to contract an indebtedness of perhaps three possible. bandred thousand dollars, or five hundred thou- Mr. SOLOMON. I wish to state briefly the sand dollars. But I do not think there is any reasons which will influence my vote upon this scarecrow in this thing, or any political capital question. I shall vote against enlarging the to be made out of it in any way.

amount to which tbe State may become indebted Mr. SCOTT. I hope the motion to fill this under the present constitution. And if any genblank with the words " five hundred thousand,” tlemen will introduce the proposition here, I will not prevail. And I will say that however will vote with him against allowing the State to much I may have been impressed at one time create any indebtedness at all, even to the extent with the propriety of enlarging the limit here of one dollar. And I will go further and say prescribed for the amount of indebtedness the that any indebtedness created by the officers of State shall be permitted to incur, yet upon fur- the State, engaged in the creation thereof, bether investigation of the subject, I am satisfied yond the amount the constitution may prescribe,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »