Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

day of

day of

Here we have the origin of that odious word the different States, and invite the holders of her was not inconsistent with his ideas of public faith. He was scale, and by an easy derivation the word scaling, bills to loan them to the Government al a given

afraid, also, the world shallmight extend to all the oud

Continental paper."-Madison papers, rol. 3, pp. 1424 and in its connection with public debt, from the sages rate of interest.

1425. of the Revolution-men to whom we are wont to Mr. Chairman, having alluded to the loan-office

Mr. Randolph offered, as a substitute, the clause look back for examples of purity and patriotism. certificates, created by the resolution of the 3d of I acknowledge that I had formerly some antipathy | October, 1776, in order to show the similarity | debts contracted, and engagements entered into, by

as it now stands in the Constitution, that, " All to this word scale; I thought a beller expression between these certificates and the portion of the

or under the authority of Congress, shall be as might have been adopted-ibat of equilable adjust- | public debt of Texas, to which I have referred as

valid against the United States under this Constitu: ment, for example. But, seeing the high author- her “funded debt," and her "eight per cent.

tion, as under the Confederation." This substitute ity from which the expression emanaled, I am bonds," I will read the resolution itself. Here it is.

was adopted by a vote of ten in the affirmative to reconciled to the word as well as to the idea.

" Resolved That five millions of Continental dollars be one in the negative. With the avowed object of But having referred to the scale of depreciation immediatrly borrowed for the use of the United States, at established by the resolution of Congress of the the annual interest of four per cent. per annum.

doing away with the positive nature of the pro“That the faith of the United States be pledged to the

vision expressed by the phrase " shall fulfill the 28th of June, 1780, let us see what that resolution

lenders for the payment of the sums to be borrowed, and engagements and pay the debts,”&c., as originally is. After reciting a preamble, that resolution pro- the interest arising thereon, and that ceruficates be given | adopted. ceeds, as follows: to the leuders in tbe form following, viz:

The whole debate on this part of the Constitu"The United States of America acknowledge the receipt « Resolved, That the principal of all loans that have been of --- dollars from - which they promise to pay

tion shows that the object of the convention was made to these United States, sball finally be discharged by to the said

or bearer, on the

80 to shape this clause in relation to the public paying the full current value of the bills when louned, with interest annually, at the rate of four per cent. pros debt as to leave the future Government at liberty which payments shall be made in Spanish milled dollars, apnum, agreeably to tlie resolution of the United Staies, or the current exchange tbereof in other money, at the passed the 30 day of October, 1776. Witnees the hand of

to adopt whatever system for its adjustment might time of payment.

The Trrasurer, this

—, A. D.

seem to them jusi to the creditors and to the " That the value of the bills when loaned shall be ascer. “ Countersigned by the cominissioners of one of the loan country. tained for the purpose above mentioued, by computing offices hereafier mentioned.

What Mr. Mason “particularly wished was, thereon a progressive rule of depreciat on, commencing "Thul, for the convenience of the lenders, a loan office with the Ist day of September, 1777, and continuing to the be established in ezcb of the United States, and a commis

to leave the door open for buying up the seru18th day of March, 1780, in geometrical proportiou to the sioner 10 superintend much office be appointed by the said rities;" as was actually done by the act of the 8 h time, from period to period, as bereafter stated, assuming Stales respectively, which are to be responsible for the of May, 1792, as we shall presently see. This the depreciation at the several periods to be as follows: faithiul discharge of their duty in the said offices, "On the 1st day of March, 1778, one dollar and three

plan of buying up the public securities “ was not

“ That the business of said commissioners shall be to quarters of the said bills for one Spanish millod dolar; on deliver certificates for all such sums of money ay ball be

inconsistent with his ideas “of public faith." the 1st day of September, 1778, as four of the former for brought into their respective offices agrerably to these reso- He was afraid, also, that the word ' shallmight one of the lauer ; on the 1st day of March, 1779, as eigh- Tutions.”_Journals of Congress, vol. 2, p. 898.

extend to all the old " Continental paper.' And teen of the former for one of the latter; ou the 18th day of March, 1780, as forty of the foriner for one of the laiter. According to this resolution, these commis. l yet, this old Contin nlal paper" was the same,

“That the principal of all certificates that have been sioners were authorized to borrow five millions of concerning which Congress said, in 1779: “So taken out since the 18th day of March last shall be dis- Continental dollars, that is, their own bills only, circumstanced, you had no other resource but the charged at the rate of one Spanish milled dollar, or the cur

and not the issues of the States. But the follow. natural value and wealth of your fertile country. rent exchange thereof in other money, at the time of pay. ment, for forty dollars of said bills of credit received on

ing resolution, of the 19th November, 1778, is still | Bills wore issued on the credit of this bank, and loan. more explicit:

your faith was pledged for their redemption." The “That the principal of all certificates that shall hereafter

Resolved, that the Commissioners of the Continental very same bills which were, by the act of 1790, be taken out, until the furtber order of Congress be dis

Joan-offices of the United States be re-pectiv ly directed scaled at the rate of a hundred for one. charged at the same rate, and in the same inander as those that have been taken out since the 18th day of March laul.

to receive for loan-office certaticates such bulls of credit only Mr. Chairman, having reviewed the action of “That the interest on all loan office certificates, at he

as have been or may be e'n ted by Congress, any resolution
to the contrary notwithstanding."-Journals of Congress, tion, in relation to their bills of credit and loan-

the former Government, and the Federal Convenrate of six per cent. per annum, computed on the principal

vol. 4. p. 667. ascertained as aforesaid, shall be discharged annually in like manner as the principal, until the whole shall be paid, The form of loan-office certificate given in the

office certificates, we are now prepared to under. &c. resolution of the 3d of October, 1776, carries on

stand the act of the 4 h of August, 1790,“ making " Orderrd, That the Board of Treasury prepare the proper its face as solemn an obligation to pay, as the bonds provision for the payment of the debt of the tables for the direction of the cominissions of be Contineptal loan offices in the several states, in puying off the of Texas, or any other bonds, and yet these are

United States " The system adopted by that act principal and interest of loans, agreably to the foregoing the very same loan-office ceriificates that, by the

was bul a continuation of that which had been resolutions.”—Journals of Congress, vol. vi., pp. 10 and resolution of the 28'h June, 1780, were required previously adopted by the Continental Congress 101. Lo be scaled at the rate of forty for one.

in the resolutions of the 31 of October, 1776, and The resolution of the 28th of June having re- Mr. Chairman, I do not allude to this subject 28th of June, 1780, with some slight modifications. ferred to loan-office certificales, 1 may not be in order to disparage this Government; far from

The third section with its preamble reads as

follows: amiss to explain what these loan-office certificates it. She has been our great exemplar in everywere. By à res lution of the 3i1 of October, 1776, | thing. To her we have looked up. She has fur

“ And whereas it is desirable to adapt the nature of the

provisirate to be made for the domestic debt to the present these loan ffices were created, and it was provided | nished the model of our scaling system, as well as

circumstances of the United States, as far as it shall be that a commissi ner should be ap ointed by each every other part of our system. We are under sound practicable, consistently with good taith and the rights Stale, and an office opened in each for the purpose obligations to her for it, and are not disposed to of the creditors, which can only be done by a voluntary

loan on their part: of receiving loans to the Government of their own rob her of whatever credit may be due for the

• Sec. 3 Be it therefore further enacted, That a loan to billa of credit. The great object of Congress introduction of chal syslem.

the full amount of the said domestic debt be, and the same was to withdraw as large an amount of their Having, lo some extent, reviewed the action of is bereby, proposed; and that broks for receiving subscripbills from circulation as possible, in order to sus- the old Congress on their public debi, I desire lo tious to be said loan be opened at the Treasury of the tain the credit of the reniaining portion. For this call the alleation of the committee to the action of

United States, and by a comunissioner to be appointed in

each of the said States, on the first day of October next, purpose the holders of these bills were inviied to the Convention which framed the Federal Con

to continue open until the last da of September following, come forward and loan them to the Government stitution, on the same sabject. In the debates in inclusively: and that the sume that shall be subscribed and receive for them these " loan-office certifi- || the Convention on the 231 of August, 1787, we

tberelo be payable in rertificates i-sued for the said debi,

according to ibeir specie value, and computing the interest cales " bearing an interest of four per cent per find the following:

upon such a bear interest to the last day of December next; annum.

“ The first clause of article seven, rection one, being so which said certificates shall be of these several descrip Now, by far the greater portion of that part of amended as to read: • Thu Legislature shall fulfill the tions, viz: the pubiic debt of Texas, to which I have alluded, engagements and discharge the debts of the United States,

“ Those issued by the Register of the Treasury. is exactly similar to these-loan office certificates

and whail have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, “Those issued by the commissioners of loans in the sep. and bills of credit of the United States. The

imposts and excides,' was agreed 10."- Madison Papers, eral States, including certificates given pursuant to the act vol. 3, p. 1412

of Congress of the second of January, one thousand seven funded debt of Texas, evidenced by a certificate

hundred and seventy nine, for bills of credit of ihe several of stock bearing ten per cent. interest-principal reconsideration of this proposition, by a vote of

On the 24th of August the Convention voted a

emissions of the twentieth of May, one thousand seven

hundred and seventy seven, and the eleventh of April, one and interest in 1846, amounting to $2,193,365. Her eight per cent. bonds, evidenced by a cerufi: Madison Papers, vol. 3, p. 1416. seven in the affirmative to two in the negative. thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight.

“ Those issued by the commissioners for the adjustment cale of stock, or bonds, bearing an interest of eight

of the accounts of the quartermaster, commissary, hospital,

August 25.-The first clause of article soven, section clothing, and marine departments. per cent. per annum, amounting, principal and one, being reconsidered,

“Those issued by the commissioners for the adjustment interest in 1846, to $1,135,400; and her promise "Colonel Mason objected to the term shall fulfill the en- of accounts in the respective States. sory notes outstanding amounting to $2,674,447, | gagements and discharge the debts, &c., as 100 strong. !! “ Those igeued by the late and present paymaster genmaking an aggregate of $5,993,212 I repeat, that

may be impossible to comply with it. The creditors should eral, or commissioner of army accounts.

be kept in the same plight. They will in one respect be “ Thoxe issued for the payment of interent, commonly most of this part of our public debt stands upon necessarily and properly in a briter. The Government called indents of interest. precisely the same foundauon as the loan-office will be more able to pay them. The use of the term shall << And the buis of credit issued by the authority of the certificates and bills of credit issued by the

Gov. will b. gel speculations, and incrrase ihr pestilential prac- United States in Congress assembled, at the rate of one ernmentof the United States. The object of Texas

tice of stock-jobbing. There was a great distinction be hundred dillars in the said bills for onc dollar in specie.

tween original redhors and tho-e who purcha-ed frauduin opening books and inviting the holders of her

("EC. 6.) " That a commissioner be appointed for each lently of the ignorant and distressed. He did not mean to State, to reside therein, whose duty it shall be to supenobills to fund them, and receive in exchange a dif- include those who have bought stock in the open market.

tend the subscriptions to the said loan; 10 open books for ferent species of security, bearing interest at eight He was sensible of the difficulty of drawing the line in this case, but he did not wish io preclude the attempt

the same ; to receive the certificates which sball br pre

Even and ten per cent., was to withdraw as large an

sented in payment thereof 10 liquidate the speeie ralue of fair purchasers, al fout, five, six, eight for one, did not such of them as shall not have been brfure liquidated ; to amount of those bills from circulation as possible, stand on the same footing with the first holders, supposing and thereby sustain the credit of those which sull them not to be blamable. The interest they received, even

issue the certificates abo vr me vioued in lieu thereof

United States Stalutes at Large, vol. 1, pp. 139, 140, and 141. continued to be used as a circulating medium | licuiariy wished was, to leave the door open for buying op

What he par

A portion of the tenth section reads as follows: the same motive which had induced the United

the securities, which he thought would be precluded by the “ But as some of the certificates now in circulation have States to cause commissioners to be appointed in Il term "shau," as requiring norninal payment, and which not beretofore been liquidated to specie value."

330 CONG....20 Sess.

Texas Debt-Mr. Smyth, of Texas.

Ho. OF REPS.

*

[ocr errors]

It then goes on to provide for the calling in of value expressed on their face, how could she have vassalage and colonial dependence; in striking off these certificates, and proceeds thus:

done this without manifest injustice to far the the fetters with which the Mexican despot sought ** That those of them who do not possess certificates most meritorious part of her creditors—those who to bind her, she followed the example of this Govissued by the Register of the Treasury, for the registered had stepped forward in the darkest hour of her ernment. Her declaration of independence was debt, should produce, previous to the 1st of June next, their respective certificates, either at the Treasury of the United

struggle, and hazarded their means in her de- || fashioned in the same mould as your own. Her States, or to some one of the commissioners to be appointed fense, under the influence of a generous impulse, constitution of the Republic was an imitation of as aforesaid, to the end that the same may be canceled, without hope or reward?

that of the United States—I might almost say a and other certificates issued in lieu thereof, which new cer- At the passage of the compromise acts of 1850, | servile imitation; because she imitated the Constitificates shall specify tbe specie amount of those in exchange for which they are given, and shall be otherwise of the like

the nominal amount of the public debt of Texas tution of the United States in points in which her tenor with those heretofore issued by the said Register of the was about twelve millions and a half of dollars; situation was entirely unlike, and where, conseTreasury."

the whole amount of indemnity offered to her by quently, her constitution should have been essenIt is clear from this act, that a portion of the that act was only ten millions. What, under the tially different. During and after the revolution debts of the United States had been scaled to their circumstances, should Texas have done? Ought her public debt grew up in the same manner. It specie value, and that those which had not been she to have placed the most meritorious class of ran the same course of depreciation, and she has thus scaled were required to be so. It is also clear, her creditors on the same common level with those adopted the same general principles for its equitafrom the whole tenor of the act, that it was but

who had received her bills at the Treasury at six ble adjustment which were furnished her by the a continuation of the Continental scaling system.

or eight for one, or the still less meritorious class illustrious example of this Government. I have said that, in adopting this system for the who had gone into the market and purchased her As I have already had occasion to remark, I equitable adjustment of our public debt, we had, liabilities at a mere nominal price? Every con- || have not run the parallel between the systems of as in everything else, followed the example of this sideration of justice, every sentiment of gratitude, classification of the United States and Texas, for Government. But we have followed it in kind forbade it; but yet, this was the inevitable result the purpose of disparaging this Government, but only, not in degree; for while this Government of acknowledging all those liabilities without dis- for a very different purpose. The adoption of a has scaled some of her liabilities as low as one crimination, at their nominal value. The rule system by the sages of the Revolution, which hundred dollars in her bills for one dollar in specie, adopted by Texas was probably the only one, system was perpetuated by the great and patriotic the lowest of ours have only been scaled to five under the circumstances, which would do justice men who put this Government in motion under for one.

to all without working injustice to any of her the Federal Constitution, is prima facie evidence The act of the 8th of May, 1792, exhibits, how

creditors. It did full justice and no more, to those that the system itself is right; and if right in the ever, a phase of the national debt which we have who had generously advanced their means in her Government of the United States, a system founded not imitated. That act authorized her commis. cause at par. It did full justice to those who had on the same principles, could not be wrong in the sioners to go into the market with her surplus

received those bills or other evidences of debt at a Government of Texas. revenue, and purchase her liabilities-already re

discount. And it did much more than justice to But, the laws enacted by both Governments in duced to their specie value "at the lowest price those who had gone into the market and bought i relation to their public debt, stand on much higher at which the same can be obtained by open pur

up her securities on speculation, at a mere nomi- ground. They are but the reënactments of the chase." (United States Statues, vol. 1., page 283.) nal price.

great principles of equity—the laws of nature in Such is the language of the law. I do not allude

There is one other view which I wish to pre- relation to right and wrong. Those laws which to this, however, in a censorious spirit; I only al- sent on this subject. Many persons who pre- teach us to return to all men the full value of what lude to it as connected with the history of a revolusented their claims to the accounting officers of our

we receive at their hands, and to expect nothing tionary debt.

government for settlement, before the govern- more in return from others. All other rules of But to return to the revolutionary debt of Texas. ment was willing to acknowledge any depreciation | action between man and man, or citizen and GovI will now, Mr. Chairman, give a general, but

in her bills, were settled with at specie rates, and ernment, are fast yielding before the advancing brief explanation of the scaling system (as it has paid off in those bills at par. These persons light of Christian civilization. They are but the been called) adopted by Texas for the equitable were frequently compelled to sell those bills at relics of a barbarous commercial policy, which adjustment of her public debt. The rule adopted, two, three, or four for one. The party now has grown up in insular countries, like England in few words, is this: To pay to the holders of her comes forward, and says: “You owed me ten and Venice, circumscribed to a mere speck on the liabilities the full amount of the considerations which

thousand dollars. You paid me in your ocean, and dependent upon commerce for subsistshe received for them when she issued them with the backs,” which were only worth to me twenty- ence; but they are altogether unsuited to a people stipulated interest.

five hundred dollars. I now demand the remain. whose empire spreads from sea to sea, and whose In order to show the early period at which this ing seven thousand five hundred dollars, with in controlling interest is agriculture. system was adopted as the settled policy of the terest to the present date, which, in all equity and Even in England they are fast receding before country, though not yet passed into a law, I will good conscience, you still owe me. In one in the advancing civilization of the age. In proof read a paragraph from a report made by a com

stance-if ma I not greatly in error-Texas has of this position, what is the doctrine now held mittee of the House of Representatives of the first

settled and paid a claim of large amount under with regard to penal bonds ? Does any man now Legislature of Texas, of which the Hon. Volney circumstances similar to those just stated, and think of collecting the penalty, expressed in the E. Howard was chairman. It reads thus:

other claims of similar character have been pre- || face of a penal bond? Yet, in its language it pur“ The fact that the debt of Texas was contracted during

sented; and, upon every principle of equity, they || ports to be a positive contract, and the form of a revolutionary struggle, constitutes no reason, in the opin

have a better claim_than the present holders of ihe instrument shows that, at some period, it might ion of the committee, why we should not pay it in honesty her bills. But can Texas satisfy the demands of have been collected. Take, as another example, and good faith. They, nevertheless, think that she should be bound to return to the public creditors only what, acboth? Can she pay the face value of her securi

the doctrine now held on the subject of mortgage. cording to a just average, they paid for her securities, with

ties to theiç present holders, and yet make up the This is another instance in which the language the rate of interest stipulated on the land or other evidence losses to the parties to whom they were originally used conveys the idea of a positive contract, of debt; they have endeavored to place their scheme of issued ? I do not pretend to say that Texas has | vesting the fee in the mortgagee, subject only to classification on the broad basis of paying back, with in

adopted, or will adopt, the instance to which I defeasance upon the performance of the condition. Lerest, to every man every dollar advanced in her service, or invested on the faith of her securities."

have alluded as a general rule by which she will || But will a court of equity now enforce it in that The committee accompanied this report with a

settle and pay similar claims, but such claimants sense? Imprisonment for debt is another relic bill, in which they recommend a system of classi

certainly now have the weight of precedent on of the commercial policy of a barbarous age, their side.

which must recede as civilization advances. fication of the public debt, upon the same general

Those who step forward and advance their Judge Story, speaking of the jurisdiction of principle as that which was finally passed into a law in 1848. The classification is contained in the

means in a revolutionary struggle, in aid of a

courts of equity, says:

people contending for their rights, and in vindica- “This jurisdiction was afterwards greatly enlarged in its first section. The second section is as follows: " That should the United States purchase the public

tion of the great principles of civil and religious operation, and applied to all cases, where relief is sought domain of the State, the proceeds of such purchase are

liberty, are supposed to do something under the

against the penaliy of a bond, upon the ground that it is bereby inviolately pledged for the payment of the sums re- influence of a generous sympathy-something I unjust for the party to avail himself of the penalty, when

an offer of full indemnity is tendered."--Story's Equity, spectively found due to her public creditors under the fore- from a patriotic regard to the great principles in- vol. I, p. 106. going classification.

volved. It would be unjust to them to suppose This fully expresses the great principle of equity Here is a solemn declaration, published to the that they are actuated by a mere sordid calcula- on which our system of adjusting our public debt world as early as 1846, of the terms upon which tion of interest; that they advance their means on is predicated. We have" tendered full indemnity Texas would settle and pay her public debt, and the same sort of calculation as men buy a lottery to our creditors." He proceeds: that, too, looking directly to a sale of her public | ticket, or stake their money upon a game of

“The same principle governs in the case of mortgages, domain.

chance, with the hope of realizing, if successful, where courts of equity constantly allow a redemption, alSome persons seem to have imagined that Texas five or ten times the amount of the investment. though there is a forfeiture at law." adopted her system of classification after the pas- We desire to look upon such public creditors as I design now, Mr. Chairman, to review some sage of the compromise measures of 1850. Şuch, entitled not only to the gratitude of the people im- | other portions of the public debt of Texas. A however, has been shown not to be the fact. Hermediately interested, but of the friends of liberty | part of her bonds, or certificates of stock, bearing system was published to the world in 1846. It

and liberal institutions everywhere. But such || ten per cent. interest, have been scaled to seventy passed into all the solemnities of a law in 1848; || sentiment of gratitude is alone compatible, in my ceris on the dollar. This was done on the genand before the compromise acts of 1850 had become opinion, with a disposition to accept the ample in- eral principle already stated; but I wish to examlaws, a large amount of her securities had been demnity which Texas has offered to her creditors. ine this question, and see what such bonds, if they surrendered, and new certificates issued for their Mr. Chairman, Texas, in all her movements were United States bonds, would actually be worth specie value.

in every phase of her history—has looked up to in the market. These bonds have run on interest If Texas had even been disposed, out of a chiv. but one great model, and that model has been this at least sixteen years. A thousand dollars of alrous regard for the letter of her engagements, Government. In revolutionizing from the Gov: | these bonds, at seventy cents on the dollar, would to recognize and pay all her securities at the fuli ernment which attempted to hold her in perpetual Il be reduced to seven hundred dollars. Now, what

NEW SERIES.-No 11.

330 CONG....20 Sess.

Diplomatic and Consular System~Mr. Chandler.

Ho. OF REPS.

would a United States bond for seven hundred divided it into three general classes. The first near the Court of

” has hardly been expresdollars, drawing ten per cent. interest, and having class, comprehending all that portion of her debt sive of the geographical position which our Minsixteen years to run, be worth in the market? which had been audited, and which comprised | isters have occupied. Many of them have been You will find, upon making the computation, that much the larger portion of her debt. The second more near to the antipodes than to the courts to seven hundred dollars, with the interest at ten per class including all that class of claims which had which they were accredited; and while they have cent. for sixteen years added, will yield the sum not been audited, but which were sustained by been traveling all over the world—a species of of one thousand eight hundred and twenty dol. sufficient legal vouchers to authorize them to be peripatetic ministers-they have been credited, lars; while a thousand dollars at five per cent., audited. And the third class, embracing those not only at the Government where they were, but having the same period to run, will yield only one which were believed to be just claims against the credited at the State Department, for amounts of thousand eight hundred dollars; so that seven Government, but were not sustained by sufficient money which by no calculation could they ever hundred dollars in bonds of the former kind would

vouchers to authorize the accounting officers of have earned. yield more, and would sell for more in the market, the Government to audit them.

Mr. Speaker, in looking over the notes of the than a thousand dollars of the latter; and yet, the The former Administration so construed this honorable gentleman who is my colleague on the latter would be worth in the market more than || proviso as to make it cover almost the entire first Committee on Foreign Affairs, (Mr. Perkins,) ! ten per cent. premium. And when we make this class debt; in fact, a majority of the entire debt; was struck with some very remarkable facts which offer to our creditors, is not “full indemnity tend- || leaving, however, a small part of the first class, are worthy of consideration, not merely that some ered,"independently of the equitable consideration and the entire second and third classes, without of the Ministers who are appointed with a salary upon which these claims have been adjusted ? the limits of the proviso. The entire debt, at its of from $5,000 to $9,000 a year have been in the

I would now ask attention to another claim; the specie value, was estimated at about seven millions habit of remaining in this country for one, two, claim of Mr. Dawson, for naval vessels furnished of dollars. What then could Texas do? The three, and four months after their appointment, to the Republic of Texas. I would not be under- | $5,000,000 received was insufficient to pay the and one remarkable instance occurred where thir. stood as aiming to detract, in the slightest degree, | entire debt. If she commenced paying indis- teen months elapsed before the Minister left this from the merit of this gentleman, as one of our criminately, the entire sum would be exhausted, country for the place to which he had been most patriotic public crechitors; but I once had | and a part of her debt would, necessarily, remain accredited. And then they have the whole disoccasion to examine this claim, and nothing is unpaid. That portion of her debt covered by the tance to travel, and perhaps, in some instances, more evident to my mind than that the price of proviso was amply cared for. Five millions of though I do not know that they have to stop in these vessels, originally, was $280,000. A second dollars had been locked up in the Treasury of the Paris to learn the French language before they go bond, however, for the same amount was depos- | United States for the special security of that class on. This is, perhaps, rather a caricature of the ited, and was to be forfeited if not paid against a of her creditors. In the dilemma thus forced upon system, but the whole of it is a caricature on specified time. The money was not paid, and her, she adopted the alternative of paying that diplomatic relations, and it needs changing-needs both bonds were taken for the debt, thus making portion of her debt not embraced in the proviso; | changing very much. it, nominally, $560,000.

leaving the other part, for the security of which so But, Mr. Speaker, my desire is to express, as Now, I ask, in what does this case differ in prin- great pains had been taken, to be paid out of the I feel it, a much greater anxiety for the consular ciple from the case of an ordinary penal bond, where reserved $5,000,000, after the restriction should relations of our country, and for those who reprethe penalty is double the amount of the original have been removed, and the bonds delivered to the sent our country in that capacity. It is of the consideration? I can perceive no difference but State.

utmost consequence that those who represent the in form; the cases are intrinsically the same; and Under the operation of this general rule some commercial interests of this country, and who yet, does any man in this age expect to collect innocent parties have suffered; and this conse- direct those interests, as many of them do, should the penalty expressed on the face of a bond? This quence Texas deeply deplores. But as to those be under certain kinds of regulations, by which claim has likewise been drawing interest at the who hung around the walls of this Capitol, and they could be made amenable not only to our cusrate of ten per centum, and has long since doubled succeeded in fastening the proviso upon the toms and manners, but to certain laws which must the original sum. This claim Texas, in her | boundary act, they have no right to complain, and govern American citizens wherever they are. We classification, reduced to fifty cents on the dollar they have none of our sympathies. They have have abroad, in our commercial marine, about one taking both bonds into consideration; that is, eaten the fruit of the tree which their own hands hundred and forty thousand seamen, who are un. she has reduced it to the original price of the have planted, and they are welcome to it. represented on this floor, who are unrepresented vessels, $280,000, with the accumulated interest And, here, in conclusion, I would remark, Mr. in our ports at home, and who have to seek at ten per centum. Was not this tendering full Chairman, that the human imagination cannot abroad, in many instances, succor, assistance, indemnity?

conceive of a thing more absurd than this proviso, and advice, from men whose fault it may be to Some benevolent persons, who, in their tender | under the construction placed upon it by the last entrap them into difficulties, and to tax them to mercies, have undertaken to keep the conscience | Administration. Under that construction the pro- | get out of them. of Texas, have also feared lest her interest should viso is made to embrace the promissory notes or Instances might be cited where these seamen, Buffer. They think she will never have credit bills of credit of Texas, for the last five doller bill paid off at a foreign port, with pockets filled with unless the nominal amount of her debt should be of which a release must be filed before the restric- l ihe results of their hard labors, becoming, as the paid. Has the United States Government any tion is removed; but, as many of these bills are gentleman upon the other side of the House excredit? The same prediction was made with doubtless lost or destroyed, the performance of pressed it a few days since, somewhat elated in regard to her, and for the same reasons. (Ameri- | this condition is impossible. Even under the con- consequence of frequent visits to corner shops, can State Papers, vol. 1, Finance, p. 79.) How struction of the present Administration, the holder | have manifested considerable excitement upon has the prediction been verified ? Has she never of the smallest item of her certificates of stock | seeing the beautiful flag of their nation flying over been able to recover from the effect of her scaling may tie up the entire five millions for an indefinite the consular house, and for the simple patriotic system? Whenever Texas has received par for period, to the great detriment of all others. ebullition of the moment, have been frequently arher securities, she has never hesitated to acknowl

rested by the very consul who should have proedge the full amount expressed on their face, with

tected them, and made to pay fines which go to the stipulated interest, though bearing the enor- DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR SYSTEM. enrich the consul, whose only excuse is, that if he mous rate of ten per cent. Could Shylock himself

does not get from them their money, somebody desire more than this? SPEECH OF HON. J. R. CHANDLER,

else will. I desire to draw the especial attention The course pursued by Texas in the liquidation

of the House to this evil, and to state that it is of her public debt, so far from injuring her credit,

OF PENNSYLVANIA,

for the purpose of correcting this, among other should place her on as high ground as any State in

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, evils, that this bill has been carefully drawn, and this Confederacy. I desire to see the credit of my

February 7, 1855.

is now pressed upon the House for adoption. State forever bright, but the best way to keep it so, is to follow the advice of the Father of his On the bill to remodel the Diplomatic and Consular

It is impossible, Mr. Speaker, for one who has system of the United States.

not traveled abroad, and been thrown, more or country, in his parting admonition to the American

less, into contact with our consuls, or felt upon people, and “ use it sparingly.Our State consti

Mr. CHANDLER said:

himself the injurious effects of our present system tution now prohibits the Legislature from contract- Mr. SPEAKER: In my opinion, no bill has to appreciate as they should be appreciated, the ing debt, exceeding, in the aggregate, $100,000; reached your table which bears with it more import- reforms proposed by the bill before the House. and I trust that feature in our organic law may ant provisions than that which is now under con- I would speak a few words, however, in behalf long reniain unchanged. I have no fears for the sideration in this House-that for remodeling the of the poor sailor, who has no representation on credit of my State.

diplomatic and consular system of this country. this floor, and who is exposed, from the nature of There is another circumstance connected with It reaches to the regulation of our affairs abroad; his pursuit and the thoughtlessness of his characour public debt which I do not wish to pass over not merely to the political relations of the country, ter, to grevious wrongs both abroad and at home. without explanation. To the first article of the but it touches every salient point of a nation We express a great deal of sympathy for this boundary act, there is this proviso:

where a ship may reach; where one bundle of class of men, and well we may, for they are the ** That no more than five millions of said stock shall be

merchandise may tempt the cupidity of a trader, heroes of our victories on the ocean, both of war jesued until the creditors of the State holding bonds, and

and where any of our own nation may reside: 1 and peace. In battle they have maintained the other certificates of stock of Texas, for which duties on The bill, in the first place, contemplates a reform. honor of our flag, and in commerce have borne imports were specially pledged, shall first file, at the Treas- ation of the diplomatic affairs of our country, and it into every sea. It has, therefore, been the ury of the Uniied States, releases of all claims against the United States for or on account of said bonds, or certifi

of the agencies of our country. It reaches to the policy of the Government to guard, with peculiar cates, in such form as shall be prescribed by the Secretary salary and to the conduct of those who represent care, the rights of these men. We build marine of the Treasury, and approved by the President of the Uni. our country abroad; and it calls upon them to be hospitals for their comfort at home, when old age ted States.”-United States Statutes at Large, vol. 9, p. the representatives of that country to the Court or disease shall have overtaken them, and ever

or near the Government to which they are accred- since the last war we have been paying annual Texas, in the arrangement of her public debt, Il ited. Hitherto, Mr. Speaker, the term “Minister amounts running up from ten thousand to one hun

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

dred and twenty-five thousand dollars the past year, for those who are disposed to vote for the present exportation of slaves from the interior of Africa, for the return of such as may have been left des- bill on the ground of its positive merits, I will through his coast possessions, and since 1850 has titute abroad. We have made laws causing our repeat, that, after having thought much on the prohibited even their introduction into his possessea-captains to give bond for the humane treat- reform of our consular system; after having pro- sions. His disposition has been favorable to this ment, and the safe return of all American sailors | posed to myself such a labor when I entered Con- country, and his commerce at this time is subject that they take abroad with them; and our courts gress; after having collected the material, and of strife with the nations of Europe. and juries look, with a kind eye, to their interest. drawn up a bill for the purpose, I am satisfied It should be remarked, while speaking of the And yet all the good intention, and all this effort the present bill is decidedly ihe best that, under charges of our consuls abroad, that most of the at practical protection to the seaman in our legis- exisiing circumstances, can be urged upon the fees which they demand and receive are not lation is neutralized, by defects in our consular | House, with any prospect of success. I speak | sanctioned by any definite law, but are regulated system. The consul who is to be a judge be- this afier having examined with minuteness the according to the customs of the port at which they tween them and the captain in their difficulties details of the bill. That there are imperfections are situated. Now, if it should happen that these abroad, is secured in the interest of the captain. in it, I have no doubt; experience is necessary to fees are exorbitant-as I am assured it does some He is feared, more for his power to punish, than | perfect every system; and the great merit of the times happen, as it, indeed, must be when the comlooked to for his protection. The bad captain can bill before the House is, that while some may plaint is so general-it is evident that those who easily obtain from him a certificate of the propriety question the amount of this or that salary, and the are taxed for these fees are not likely to have a of his conduct, while the good captain avoids him permission for this or that consul to trade, I have remedy. The custom of the port is regulated by to escape imposition. Thus, nothing is more not met one man who does not say that the prin- | the body of consuls, not one of whom, if he rea common than to hear, among our sea-faring men, | ciples of the bill are plainly required by the public ceives his compensation in fees, is likely to violate the consul abroad spoken of in the light of a tax- interest:

the custom by any reduction of fees; a proper gatherer, whom it is their interest to avoid. Their It substitutes positive law for executive, and esprit du corps would prevent that, even if a regard fees, by a most impolitic rule, are measured by ministerial, and consular discretion. It estab- for self was not operative. Surely this supplies the usual, notarial port, and other charges of the lishes responsibility, and fixes it upon the imme- a motive for a change in the system, and that country to which they are sent. By this means diate agent of any act. It makes open and plain motive, I think, must be operative on this House. we are actually paying our consuls abroad to to all, the nature and extent of the emoluments But these heavy charges, and the pursuits of influence foreign Governments to tax our com- received by every one in the foreign service:- trade on the part of our consuls lead to another merce in as many ways and to as large an amount It allows no pay for service in advance; in- great evil. li throws the commerce of this counas possible.

sures the personal discharge of the duties of an try into foreign hands, and leads to most mortifyWe have five millions of tonnage abroad, upon office, and puts an end to that species of Execu- ling results. A very large portion of our business the ocean, which should look to the consulates of tive favoritism, by which political partisans may in foreign goods is done on foreign account. The this country as so many points of security against be pensioned, to a greater degree than under the manifestos are thus without consular certificates, wrong. In the vast millions of varied products | English Government, and more dangerously, be- and the revenue suffers by such a diversion of which it bears from our shores to remote localities cause clandestinely, and under the show of patri- business. It is said that sixty per cent. of our all round the globe, every domestic and industrial otic impulse. It relieves the one hundred and foreign trade is thus thrown into foreign hands. interest in this country is closely connected. forty thousand seamen of the country from taxa- I feel that on this subject I am speaking for a

A bill, therefore, sir, which aitempts to reform tion in every imaginable form, and secures to large mercantile constituency, many of whom I abuses in our consular system, to substitute posi- || them, in the consul, a disinterested friend and know have suffered by a diversion of business, tive law for discretion, make definite the fees | counselor:

and felt the great inconvenience and loss in their charged; and to curtail abuses, which eat up the It relieves the five millions of tonnage of the coun- mercantile pursuits, resulting from the advantage profits of our shipping and commercial interest, try of exposure in case of misfortune, shipwreck, which foreigners derive from our consular system, cannot be, and should not be, considered other or casualty abroad, to an enormous taxation in a and the consequences of its mal-arrangement. I than as a great national measure.

variety of fees. It removes the discrimination speak, sir, thus, for America and for Americans, In illustration of the character of the charges now existing against small commercial adventures and ask for our country and our countrymen the made by consuls abroad, I append a list of those to contiguous ports in favor of large capitalists benefits of our national legislation. We have too for extension of protests at differents points. i and distant trade. It gives our foreign agents | long been legislating for those who have no symThey run from six dollars, or eight dollars, io forty | abroad respect with the authorities of the country | pathy with us, no interest in our prosperity, and dollars, for the same act, and, I am assured, in where they are located; frees them from the sus- we delay to promote a trade that is truly Amerisome instances of extortion have exceeded one picion of selfish gain in the discharge of their hundred dollars. As the only existing rule govo || duties, and thus secures them a moral influence I have already referred to other evils of the erning the amount is the judgment of the consul over their countrymen abroad, far more potent for consular system, especially those that result from as to the extent of his own labor, and the customs good than any mére legal authority with which we the consul being himself a merchant-of the adof the port where he is, it will be seen at once that I might arm them. The American traveling abroad | vantage which he has over the unofficial merchant the merchant can be imposed on, without any will no more dread his consul, as a tax-gatherer, in the market in which he is, and over the market means of detecting it, by preclusion between the obstructing more than facilitating his power to to which he and his unfortunate rivals may send captain and the consul. Under the bill, as the fee | travel without passport all over Europe. In fact, li goods. Business men will understand all this, does not go to the consul, and the extension of the in peace and in war, the consul will exist, with a and they have not been backward in expressing protest itself, is not, necessarily, a consular duty, fixed salary and definite duties—an American in their opinion, and urging a remedy. I believe there can be no such imposition.

nationality, as well as in sentiment and thus the this bill proposes the best remedy than can now Mr. Speaker, I have been abroad; I have lived rights of our citizens and the honor of the coun- be had. 'It iakes nothing from my argument that for most of my life in one of our largest commer- try will be better insured than can possibly be I do not cite special instances, and refer to persons cial cities; and my pursuits have brought me into under any other system which does not limit our to sustain my remarks. It should be enough for close relations with those engaged in foreign com- || consulships to American citizens, with definite law this House to know that sad evils, as I have menmerce. I have been for several years a member for their guidance.

tioned, may exist, that the present system is unof this House, serving on various committees, The bill has been framed with care, so that in | deniably liable to such a misdirection, and Amerialways interested in legislation affecting our com- accomplishing much, not to attempt other reforms can business and American men exposed to such merce; and I have been and am now a member not directly connected with our foreign machin- || abuses. The legislation that is for their interests, of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and there. ery. The reorganization of the State Department and the citizens far distant from our courts and our fore felt it a duty to look into what our foreign || itself, the classification of its clerks, the estab- | general laws, should be explicit and definite, and relations makes for the commerce and peace of this lishment of a consular bureau, and a provision as little as possible should be left to a discretion that country; and I do not believe that there have often for the publication of consular dispatches, may is liable to be warped by opposing interests. At þeen bills before the House whose passage would properly be embraced in another bill.

home the executive, the legislative, and the courts be more for the interest of the whole country So, also, the bill does not change the special of the country are all easily approached, and the than the present one.

laws regulating the civil and criminal jurisdiction || misconduct of a public officer is at once resented I know the difficulty of getting correct and full | exercised under treaty stipulation by our consuls | by the sufferer, and punished by the appropriate information on the subject of which this bill treats. I in China. These powers, however in their char- tribunal. Abroad, petty annoyances, personal Few members of the House have the leisure, if acter exceptional, made so by the peculiar people grievances, and oficial vexation may be felt and they had the inclination, to examine into it. All with whom our consuls there have to deal. The resented, but it cannot, for a long time, be exposed; feel the necessity of some reform. Passed Con- bill also leaves the consulate in Japan and Borneo i rarely, if ever, punished. Eminently, then, it is gresses, previous Secretaries of State, different without a specified salary. Permission to estab- our duty to throw around our citizens abroad the Chambers of Commerce, the whole newspaper | lish these have been secured by recent treaties not ægis of our protective laws, and to remove from press of the country, without, so far as I have yet carried into execution, and it was deemed ad- the guardian of their rights and the avenger of seen, a single exception, all unite in urging visable not to advise them, by the attempt to fix their wrongs all temptations to neglect or injure some change. Under such circumstances, mem- their salaries in this bill.

their interests. bers who have not had time to look into this Trade in the East is rapidly increasing, and no The evils to which I have referred are those of subject, and who are not disposed to plant them- doubt will receive, from another Congress, the a time of peace, when malpractice may only exselves upon the judgment and suggestions of the attention its importance demands. The bill, how- tend to the interests immediately injured. That Committee on Foreign Affairs, may very well ever, puts on a good footing consuls at Zanzibar is, of course, bad enough. But it is far worse in a vote for this bill under what seems to be the judg. i on the eastern coast of Africa, where the immense season of war. The consul, dependent upon his ment and conviction of the whole country-that possessions of the Sultan of Zanzibar and Muscat fees for compensation, may grow rich by a favorany change will be an improvement, and that no have become of interest to the whole commercial able concurrence of circumstances in peace; but proposed system can, by any possibility, be worse world. As early as the year 1818, the Sultan, | in a season of war he, without the stimulus of than the present one. For myself, however, and Il it may not be generally known, prohibited the Il fees, may neglect the duties which belong to the

can.

330 CONG...,20 Sess.

Invalid PensionsMr. Fenton.

Ho. OF REPs.

..$10

Calcutta....

15

Gibralter..

18

$16

16

Havre..

8

10 15

8

office, or else use his consular powers in a way to than we have been. George the Third, pleased which the Committee of Ways and Means have involve our country in constant difficulty.

with the ordinary dress of his day, said “Let all deemed proper to report upon adversely, I cannot I may appeal to the experience of almost every who approach me, do so in this costume," and but foel a deep interest in the disposition to be gentleman now in this body, that Congress is, at the dress of that period has since remained the made of it by this House. I will not so far tresevery session, annoyed with application from Min- court-dress of England. We, coming into exist- pass upon the indulgence and patience of the isters, secretaries, chargés, &c., for extra compen- ence as a nation with institutions directly opposed House, already wearied by protracted debate upon sation, for duties devolved upon them by the ab- in principle to those of Great Britain, have dis- / various questions, when time for action is so short sence of others; and though some of these claims carded its idle trappings, which, at the most, would | and therefore so precious, as to make an elaborate may be unfounded, yet generally they are just; only have been laughed at in the street, but have | argument in defense of my proposition;-in fact, and thus our diplomatic expenses (especially) are retained her diplomatic and consular system, with it needs it not, but I desire in a word, if possible, to swollen far beyond all estimate which, it seems, all its curabersome details and practical evils, down relieve the amendment from the unfair and unjust could be as readily and exactly made as any, even to the present day.

prejudice heaped upon it by the gentleman from for the most trifling duties in advance. But such I trust the bill will pass. I cannot doubt the Alabama, (Mr. Houston,] and those of kindred is the unsystematized state of this part of our pub- disposition of the House on the subject. I hope, || views. lic service that we are almost invariably paying then, that it will be soon sent to the other branch, It is said it will take many millions to answer two salaries for one service, and sometimes three. and be as promptly and confidingly received there its requirements if adopted. Suppose it does; is The amount paid, though many thousand dollars, as, I believe, it will be passed here. We have other || this to be interposed as an argument against its is of far less consequence than the unpleasant and bills that must become laws, and will claim pre- passage? Has this declaration, even if true, in mortifying results to which the practice leads. cedence. I hope, then, that no attempts to change || itself any force? I can well conceive how, in the And in the uncertainty of our legislation, we often any portion of the bill will here or elsewhere early days of the Republic, with a depleted and omit the proper compensation of officers who have delay its passage.

bankrupt Treasury, the people depressed and been charged with the affairs of a Minister in the

borne down by protracted' war, the Government absence of a Minister; nay, we refuse or neglect to Fees, Protest (now COLLECTED.)-Fes charged for should fail to pay the sums due those who had repay the amount that the confiding secretary or the extension of a protest, at several of the consulates in fought the battles for our Independence. But, sir,

different countries. consul advanced, and allow him to suffer from our

at this day, with an overflowing Treasury, and delay, and to occupy the attitude of a petitioner

England.

Tuo Sicilies.

with a country illimitable in its resources, no such for favors.

Liverpool.......£1 19s. 6d. Messina..............
Glasgow......... 205

Palermo..

•$5015 objection can be successfully interposed. This All these evils will be obviated by the bill before Cork..

.....

Turkey.

Congress cannot cover itself with a shield so transus. Duties are, in it, specifically defined, time Hong Kong...

16 Smyrna

$4 || parent; it would subject us to the charge of parand place noted, and the compensation fixed, and

China.

simony and ingratitude.
Melbourne
35 Shanghai..

·$16
the liberty of the officer properly restrained. The
Hobart Town...........

I do not, however, admit the allegation. I am

Sandwich Islands, bill secures to our foreign service, diplomatic and

16 Honolulu ....

. $15

aware that no definite sum can be fixed upon. consular, a dignified character. It removes from Cape of Good Hope..... 15

Society Islands, The nearest approximation is arrived at by him the consul the chance of importation, which, though

St. Helena.....
8 Tahiti....

--$25 | only who has given this subject the most extenHalifax, N. S.......... 20

New Zealand. they have been deserved by some, have not Kingston, Jamaica...... 16 Bay of Islands, (extending

sive and searching investigation, and who, by his been earned by others. Much as have been the Nassau, Ń. P..........

and engrossing).......$30

superior sagacity, is the better enabled to arrive wrongs committed by persons acting as our con- Turks Island............ 24 Feejee Islands, do....... 20 at correct results. In the latter regard, I most

Barbados ............

16 suls in other countries, it is not denied that

Hayti.
Bermuda , , .

respectfully yield to those gentlemen who entertain

8 Port au Prince....... many officers of that grade have discharged their

France.
Aux Cayes..............

opinions adverse to my own; in the former, I join duties with fidelity, and have manifested that dig- Bordeaux...

•$12 Cape Haytien........... 16

issue, and have to say to this House, after much nity of feeling, and that justice of conduct which

City of St. Domingo..... 16 attention, thought, and inquiry, that it will not take

Marsailles becomes the representative of the interests of a

Merico.

millions to subserve its requirements; ay, sir, it Guadaloupe, W. I..... 8a16 Tampico...... .$14 great nation, and it is precisely from this class of

Martinique
....16 Mazatlan.

will not, in my opinion, require as much money officers that the information relative to the abuses

Spain.
Acapulco ...............

for this as for the Senate (FeSSENDEN) amendment, Cadiz. to which the present system is exposed, has been Malaga.................

which, at the most exorbitant figure, is placed at

Central America. derived.

Barcelona.............

6 San Juan del Norte.....$10 | $1,200,000; and yet I would do justice to the class I ought to mention one instance of an American Havana ................

New Granada, of persons embraced in this proposition, if it exgentleman who, for the last six years, has dis- Matanzas...

25 Carthagena....

hausted the Treasury of the whole of that surplus Panama.

Trinidad de Cuba....... 16 charged the duties of a consulate of vast import

now so prolific in corrupting legislation. St. Jago de Cuba ....... 16 Aspinwall. ance to the commercial interest of his country,

Ponce..

Venezuela.

I propose to ingraft no new principle upon the and often of much moment to his traveling coun- St. John's, P. R........ 8a24 Maracaibo... . $16 || legislation of the country in regard to our pension trymen. He has shrunk from the imposition of Manilla

16 La Guayra

laws. I desire, rather, to ariiplify slightly the Portugal.

Ecuador. fees as far as possible; and while he maintained

rule of construction at the Pension Bureau, and Fayal, Azores. $2 Guayaquil the character of a gentleman and an officer, had to Lisbon

to remove largely the perplexity and intricacy combat with some of the prejudices which the

Belgium.

Maranham Island....... $6 which surround and run through the present laws errors of others of his rank had created.

Antwerp

.$16 Pernambuco.......... and make it so difficult to obtain equal justice. Netherlands.

Rio de Janeiro,......... 10
We must not lose sight of the fact that our

Amsterdam .......
.916 Rio Grande.............

The present laws extend to those widows only country needs good officers, and that the character Rotterdam.............. 10

whose husbands have died in the Army, or after of a nation, and often its interests, are judged of Paramaribo............. 14

Uruguay.

their return from disease contracted while in the by the man selected for its representative. But

St. Martin..............
8 Montevideo .... $12

service. Without adverting, for the purpose of especially must the interests of individuals, which

........ 16 Buenos Ayres Denmark.

Chili.

argument, to the temptation placed before the apthe nation proposes to protect by the establish- St. Croix.......

.$16 Valparaiso

.$17a25 plicant, which might lead in less honest minds io ment of consulates, be affected by the conduct of St. Thomas...

16 Talcahuana..

28

duplicity, fraud, and even perjury, in making the the officer employed.

Trieste.....
$5 Callao..

proofs, I may say it is often difficult to trace the

$10 Beside the advantage which our commerce must Venice.....

original cause of disability or death, and hence derive from the provision of this bill that forbids

the embarrassment the Commissioner of Pensions the consul to be engaged in commerce, another

is subject to, in the discharge of his official duty, great benefit results in the equalizing of compen

INVALID PENSIONS.

and in determining upon this class of cases. sation.

To remove all unnecessary obstacles in the exeThe bill, I believe, is right in principle, and as SPEECH OF HON. R. E. FENTON, cution of the law, and liability to invade and vionearly so in its details as it can be made under

OF NEW YORK,

late its provisions, the amendment provides that present circumstances. Time and experience

if a soldier dies in the service of his country, his widoro

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, may suggest improvements—and Congress will

shall be pensioned. not' fail to enact whatever is thus suggested.

February 9, 1855.

It proposes, in addition, to remove the disabilMeantime let us, not allow the present opportu- The House took up for consideration the bill ity or barrier of marriage which is now interposed nity to pass without correcting existing abuses.

making appropriations for the payment of Invalid against those who have, or have had, second husI think, sir, it will be the best policy, at this late

Pensions for the year ending June 30, 1856. bands. Our laws, in effect, offer a bounty to those period of the session, and after the careful exam

The following amendmeni, previously offered widows of soldiers who disobey the laws of assoination that I know has been given the subject, to

by Mr. Fenton, was reported from the Commit- ciation, stifle the impulses of their nature, and pass the bill before the House without amend.

tee of Ways and Means, with the recommenda- || prove indifferent to the usages of civilization; in ment. Its actual and positive advantages far tion that it be non-concurred in:

other words, we say to her: providing you engage outrun any doubtful improvement of which it is

And be it further enacted, That any woman who was the in matrimony, the stream of justice, benevolence, capable. It will be the germ, I have no doubt, of wife or widow of an officer, non-commissioned officer, and charity, dispensed by this Government on a system of foreign intercourse worthy of the musician, private, seaman, or marine, who served

account of the meritorious services of your huscountry, and, in some degree, responsive to the

Army or Navy of the United States in the revolutionary band in defense of his country, shall be dried at

war, or in any subsequent war, and has since died in the character of our institutions. land or naval service of the United States, shall also be en

its source, the fountain shall swell with benificent Mr. Speaker, we are in the habit of smiling at titled to the benefits of the pension laws, or of this act; but tide no more; but continue in a state of widowthe ridiculousness of the court-dress of England no woman shall receive a pension for any time during || hood, and the annual stipend shall be continued.

which her husband received one. in an enlightened age. It is, however, sir, but

Our laws proceed upon no such principle; it would the decoration of royalty, where royalty is a prin

Mr. FENTON said:

be a reproach upon our institutions; and the ciple of Government. The English Government Mr. Speaker: Having had the honor to submit || practice of the Government so directly in contraeven in this, however, have not been more unwise the amendment to the invalid appropriation bill, ll vention of every principle of justice and equity

17

20a30

16

16

16

4

Brazil.

[blocks in formation]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »