Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

tablishing the bureau. In these States the policy of setting apart lands for freedmen was initiated anterior to the establishment of the bureau, and under Field Orders No. 15, issued by Major General Sherman. Acomparatively insignificant amount of town property is used as quarters for teachers and officers connected with the bureau, and as hospitals. With these exceptions, all property in the hands of the bureau is held as a means of revenue.

“Shortly after the organization of the bureau, parties whose property was held by it commenced to apply for restoration of their former rights. The policy first adopted by the bureau was to return estates to those only who could show constant loyalty, past as well as present-a loyalty which could not be established by the inere production of an oath of allegiance or amnesty. As the bureau held property by authority of an act of Congress for certain definite purposes, it was supposed that this tenure must continue to exist until thosc purposes were accomplished; that property must be surrendered only when it was evident that the control over it was unauthorized and improper.

"This course did not meet with the approval of the President, who gave orders that a pardon, either by special warrant or the provisions of his amnesty proclamation, entitled the party pardoned to demand and receive immediate restoration of all his property except such as had been actually sold under a decree of confiscation. Shortly after this decision was made known Circular No. 15, dated September 12, 1805, was issucd from the bureau, and embodying the provisions of the act of Congress establishing it, promulgated for the first time definite rules regarding the restoration of this property to former owners.

Authority to restore was vested in the assistant commissioners of the bureau. They were directed to turn over at onco all property held as abandoned upon its appearing to their satisfaction that it did not fall within the terms of the definition laid down in the act approved July 2, 1864. They were also directed to restore property, when application was made for it, through the superintendents of the districts in which it was situated, accompanied by proof of claimant's title and of his pardon, either by special warrant or the terms of the proclamation of amnesty of May 29, 1865. It was provided, however, that land cultivated by refugees or freedmen should be rctained until the growing crops were gathered unless the owner made full compensation for the labor expended and its products.

** Under the provisions of this circular the work of restoration has progressed very rapidly, and it is probable that when the year terminates little or no property will remain under control of the bureau."

Now, Mr. Speaker, the bureau has not yet been in operation one year. And yet the greater part of the abandoned and confiscable lands in all the rebel States which had been in the actual possession of the Commissioner, and substantially all valuable for cultivation, have been taken from him and restored to their former owners. Unless Congress shall act, where then are these men to be protected, and how can the bureau be made to support itself?

Let me give you one statement to show how this abandoned property was used. The assistant commissioner of the State of Mississippi, in his report of the 2d of January, 1866, says as follows:

"I wish to present a complete statement of the workings of the Davis's Bend colony for the year.

"The land was divided and leased, houses built, and a system of government organized as reported to you in previous communications. The people worked well, and have shown by their industry, perseverance, and management that they are capable of doing business for themselves, and will do best where the greatest encouragement is held out of future reward.

"There were on the Bend one hundred and eightyono companies or partnerships who received land. These comprised thirteen hundred adults and four hundred and fifty children. About five thousand acres of land were divided among them. Theso people were left free to manage their own affairs; not even officers of the bureau were allowed to meddle with the pecuniary or domestic affairs. They havo producedCorn, 12,000 bushcls, worth at least....

$12,000 Vegetables, potatoes, melons, &c., sold... 38,500 Cotton, 1,736 bales.......

347,200 Total amount of receipts......

397,700 Paid for expenses.

.$160,000 Paid to white partners for stock, supplics, &c

60,000 Pail receiving and disbursing officer

of Frecdien's Bureau, for rations drawn.......

18,500

and by those who were, from any cause, unable to

Recapitulation. procuro land.

Amount on hand June 30, 1865.

$966 22 Receipts from home farm, for two hundred and Amount received from all sources.............

83,897 51 thirty-four bales of cotton..

$15,859 80 Paid to frced people for work by

Total receipts...

81,815 73 superintendents during the year.....$6,850

Total expenditurcs...

31.318 80 Paid to superintendents on all the plantations on the Bend, year's

Remaining in hands of receiving and dis-
work.....

5,995
bursing officer......

$53,496 025
Paid for ginning, baling, and pick-
ing....

4,675 Paid for freight, commissions, re

Colonel Whittlesey, assistant commissioner packing, &c.....

5,410

for North Carolina, at the close of his first

quarterly report gives the following statement Total expenses.........

22,930 00

of the financial condition of his department: Amount turned over to receiving and dis

"The financial condition of the bureau is clearly bursing officer

25,929 80 presented in the reports of Captain James, who, in If to this amount we add amount received

addition to his duties as superintendent of the eastby said oflicer for rations issued colored

ern district, has acted as financial agent, with tho planters......

18,500 00

assistance of Captain Scely, assistant quartermaster.

The duties of the department have been very great, It will show the total amount received by

and have been faithfully discbarged by these officers. the bureau from the home farm and tho

In July, Colonel Heaton, agent of the United States colonists...

$44,429 80

Treasury, turned over to the bureau a large amount

of real estate in Wilmington, Newbern, and adjoin“Five thousand bushels of corn were raised on the

ing counties, which had been leased for terms vary.

ing from one month to one year, The collection of home farm and fed to Government stock, which was

rents from several hundred lessees of tenements and in use for the benefit of the people.

farms has been a laborious work. But the exami"The experiment has been a grand success, and

nation and adjustment of claims for this property, proves what the people can do. I regret that they

and the restoration of it in accordance with the Prescannot have the opportunity of cultivating the same ident's amnesty proclamations, has been more trying lands this season. Four of the plantations have been

and perplexing. Nearly all, bowcyer, is now out of returned to the owners; the organization of the col

our hands, and unless a recxamination of these claims ony is broken up, and the people advised to seek

is forced upon us by applications for rents, on the employment and business elsewhere. I still retain

ground that the property was not abandoned, wo the Davis plantations, and will lease them this year,

shall be able hereafter to devote all of our timo to but will charge the people a moderate rent, and not

our appropriate work. allow them to have the land frce, as was done during "The following summary of operations presents the 1865."

leading facts to the foregoing report: And here, sir, is a statement showing amount Receipts for the quarter........

$44,913 24 of money received and disbursed in the Bureau Current expenses.:

$4,350 34

For soldiers' families from bounty
of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands fund.

7,977 25
for the State of Mississippi,
at Vicksburg, from Remitted to Treasury..

21,584 17
June 1, to December 31, 1865:

33.911 76 Disbursed 1865.

Balance credited October 1, 1865.............. $11,001 48
Juno. Expenditures for Junc........ $2,576 71
Balance to July....

4,243 86

"Farms, 128; acres on farms cultivated, 8,510; acres

of pino lands worked, about 50,000; freedmen emJuly. Expended in July.

$4,245 69 ployed on farms, 6,102; contracts witnessed, 357; Balance to August.............

4,216 17

freedmen employed under them, 1,847; marriages

registered, 512; orphans apprenticed, 42; schools es$8,461 86

tablished, 63; teachers employed, 85; scholars attending, 5,612; cases of crime reported for trial, 12;

cases of difficulty settled, reported in full, 257; cases August. Expended in August.................. 84,599 98 Balance to September.....

not reported in writing, several thousand; rations issued, 508,924; value of. $106,365 11; hospitals, 14; sick

in hospitals, &c., attended by direction of the bureau, $10,079 54

54,441; deaths, whole number of freedmen reported,

in hospitals, camps, and towns, adjoining, 2,680. Sept. Expended in September................ $5,179 42 *Reports of sick and deaths embrace all cases in Balanco to October..

8,572 74

the vicinity of stations, and with which the bureau

has in any way been connected. $13,752 16

“Estimated crops: cotton, 858,700 pounds; corn,

32,715 bushels; sweet potatoes, 1,000 bushels; turpenOctober. Expended in October.......

$4,284 52 tine, 5,700 barrels; tar, 5,808 barrels." Balance to November.................

10,517 47

So it is, Mr. Speaker, that the lands and $6,223 25 sources of support and of revenue have gone

from the bureau. I state the fact to be from Nov. Expended in November........... $3,328 Balance to December..

the experience of less than one year that 7,423 22

wherever the experiment has been tried with $10,751 47 reasonable fairness the freedmen have demon

strated that the able-bodied men and women Dec.

Expended in December........
Vouchers due and remaining un-

$5,055 645 | have not only supported themselves, but have paid..

2,115 49

been able to pay over to the Government in Balance due Froedmen's Bureau, 53,496 92} rent and produce substantially enough to pro

vide for the old, the infirm, and the disabled. $60,668 06

And now, what should Congress do? If we Received 1865.

will not act, or if having done all we can, no June. Amount on hand last statement... $966 22 bill can be approved or passed, one of two

Amount received during month... 5,851 35 courses must be pursued-either the power July. Amount from June 30.......

must be assumed of obtaining lands by lease

$4,243 86 Amount received during month.... 4,218 00

or otherwise for the uses of freedmen, or else

arrangements must be made by which freed. Errorin bringing forward balance.. $8,461 86 men able to work may find employment upon August. Amount from July .........

plantations and in the homes of former masters

$4,216 17 Amount received during month..... 5,863 37

or owners of lands who have moved from north

ern States. $10.079 54

But, first, neither Congress nor President Sept. Amount from August.....

$5,480 46

could properly permit the bureau to purchase Amount received during month..... 8,271 70

or to lease lands without the authority of law,

and so it will come to this, that when, as will

$13,752 16 soon be the case, no lands are left within the October. Amount fromSeptember..

control of the Commissioner, all freedmen, old $8,572 74

and Amount received during month..... 6,223

young, able to work, or disabled by

wounds, infirmity, or disease, must be proNov. Amount from October........ .$10,547 47 vided for in some way or other upon lands Amount received during month..... 204 00

owned, occupied, and improved for the per $10.751 47

sonal profit of private owners.

Now, such owners will not want upon their Dec. Amount from November...... $7,423 22 farms useless laborers. They will not receive Amount received during month..... 53,244 01 the men who have lost their arms or legs in

$60,668 06

your defcuse. They will not want feeble wo. men, nor the old or infirm, or the children too

[blocks in formation]

“The people have raised their own crops, made their own sales, and put the money in their pockets; none of it passed through the hands of white people or officers of the Government of any department. The only opportunity there has been for any chcating has been in the settlement made with white partics who furnished supplies. We have guarded this in erery way possible, and demanded that setulements should be made before our bureau officers.

“The homo farm of five hundred acres was cultivated by transient people thrown upon our hands,

young to work. Especially they will not want lieve that we had discharged our duty if we say with safety, for the law is mightier than the those who are disabled by disease. Do you to the Commissioner of this bureau we will not

strongest man. But these men whon you not see that all this multitude of non-producers || give you any lands to work with ; but take care have freed have been slaves. Their fathers must be a dead weight upon the Government? of these freedmen ; see that the gulf which sep- were torn away by felon hands from ancestral What will the Commissioner do with them? arates servitude from freedom is bridged over homes in their native land-heathen homes, Where will be put them? You have freed them somewhat, and aid their unaccustomed steps perhaps, but I suppose God was there neverand their old owners do not want them. Where until they stand firmly upon that land of prom- theless--and within the borders the rebel shall they go? What shall they do? There ise which we have opened to them?

Find

States no homes since then have been permitwill be cases where the necessities of labor || employment for them all, and see to it they ted to them or to their children. Slavery canwill compel land-owners to permit disabled have fair play; but especially see to it that the not know a home. Where the wife is the propparents to remain and to be fed upon their Government incurs no needless cost. Would

erty of the husband's master, and may be used farms while the working season lasts in order that do? Where could you find employment at at will; where children are bred, like stock, to secure the services of the able-bodied sons. fair wages, and how could your Commissioner for sale; where man and woman, after twenty But those cases will be exceptional, and we secure it to them? If you compel them to work years of faithful service from the time when the have no right to take them into our consider- upon the old plantations, under the old owners,

priest with the owner's sanction by mock cereation.

in the old homes, giving them no hope in life | monies pretended to unite them, are parted With lands assigned to the bureau where and no choice of labor but to work there or to and sold at that owner's will, there can be no homes may be allotted to the freedmen and expatriate themselves and seek homes in other such thing as home. Sir, no act of ours can reasonable rents received from them, with rights | States, do you not see that the price of wages || fitly enforce their freedom that does not consecured to them to purchase upon fair terms, must be at the discretion of the owner of the template for them the security of home. the able-bodied freedmen will take care of all land? If you compel the freedman to work But let it be borne in mind that it is not their sick and their disabled, and will put into there, what wages they will give he must take, or intended by this bill to give freedmen homes the Treasury of the Government enough to de- you must support him, or he must starve. But at the cost of the Government. They will hire fray all the charges of this bureau. And now, give to your Commissioner the power to pro- and

pay

full rent or they will buy and pay full if it be said by any one who claims that this is cure lands for them; the freedmen will pay fair || price. But when a condition of things exists the white man's country, or by anybody else, rent and will from their labor defray the ex- such as is now found in the late rebel States, that such a policy as this would disturb labor penses of your bureau, and will thankfully pay where, as a race, the colored man could own and prevent the plantations from being worked full price for the lands which you may sell no lands because held in slavery, and where because freedmen would prefer their own home- them. And when such opportunities are given because of his declared freedom the vindictive steads to anybody's farm, the answeris obvious. them you will yourselves make that golden rule hatred of the old owners fastens itself upon This cannot be so if wages are offered which of labor operative, and a fair day's pay for a him and would exclude him still from ownerfairly pay for the work to be done. There is fair day's work will be secured. My friends, || ship of land, there does arise this necessity not a man upon the floor of this House that is not this very plain? And I say to you now, that we who have made them free should enable does not see in his own every-day experience and I would that every voting man in all your | him from the fruits of his own industry and with this absurd argument refuted. If the freedman districts could hear what I say, that whatever his own means to procure for himself a home. can pay his rent and keep his family together, else you may do you cannot "enforce that | And that is all that this bill proposes to do. old and young, and clear for himself twenty great amendment by any legislation more “ap- || Every man may now avail himself of the homedollars a month, he will not willingly work for || propriate” than this.

stead law. That will secure him eighty or one another man for eight or ten. Why should he ? But you see at once, Mr. Speaker, that the hundred and sixty acres for a nominal sum of But give him the worth of his labor, and he present law, passed before the people of the money. This bill withdraws one million out will go quickly enough, and the women and the loyal States by their Legislatures ratified the of fifty million acres of public lands in the old men who cannot get wages will work his amendment which you offered to them, is five States, namely, Florida, Mississippi, Alalittle land and stay at home. This is the law wholly insufficient in this respect. The lands | bama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, and permits of labor. We all have the services of men provided for them by that law have passed sub. the freedmen to lease in lots of forty acres who live at their homes when not at work; and stantially, excepting the Sherman lands which each and purchase at an agreed valuation. Let so, as a general fact, has every northern house. I will speak of presently, into the hands of me read the fifth section of the bill: holder. And those men employed all over the their former owners. And your committee Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That for the purNorth are among the men who send us here believed that upon a fair statement of existing pose of rendering this burcau self-sustaining, and in and keep their eye upon us while we are here. facts you would not hold them guiltless if they

the place of lands heretofore assigned to freedmen

and thereafterwards withdrawn from the control of Does any one know this fact better than the did not propose some plan that would-with

the bureau, the President shall reserve from sale or President knows it?

out one dollar of cost to the Government, as settlement under the homestead or preemption laws, Now, sir, the same law of labor will hold we believe-in some small measure make real

and assign for the use of freedmen and loyal refugees.

male or female, unoccupied public lands in Florida, good at the South as prevails at the North. to these freedmen the liberty you have vouch- Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, not The trouble is, that where for generations la- safed to them. We owe something to these exceeding in all one million acres of good land. And bor has been forced; where the minimum | freedmen, and this bill rightly administered,

the Commissioner shall cause the samo, under the

direction of the President, to be allotted and assigned amount of food and clothing, without other invaluable as it will be, will not balance the from time to time, in parcels not exceeding forty pay, has been made to produce the maximum account. We have done nothing to them, as acres each, to the loyal Jefugees and freedmen, who amount of work, those who employ labor are

shall be protected in the use and enjoyment thereof a race, but injury. They, as a people, have

for such term of time and at such annual rentas may not willing to pay the fair value of labor. But done nothing to us but good. The friends of bo agreed upon between the Commissioner and such when on the cotton plantation the land-owner || slavery say we Christianized the African, and refugees or freedmen. The rental shall be based is prepared to pay for skilled labor what it therefore we gave him blessing and not a curse.

upon a valuation of the land, to be ascertained in

such manner as the Commissioner may, under the is fairly worth to the man who does the work, We enslaved him. That is what we did. If direction of the President, by regulation prescribe. he will find willing hands to cultivate his staples. the African has become Christian in America At the end of each term, or sooner, if the CommisBut there is another consideration which neither he may thank God, not us. So Booth murdered

sioner assent thereto, the occupants of any parcels so

assigned, their heirs and assigns, may purchase the President nor Congress will feel disposed to our President. His fatal ball opened the avenue H land and receive a title thereto from the United disregard. "A fair day's pay for a fair day's || through which the spirit passed, and Lincoln States in fee, upon payment therefor of the value of work,'' is the golden rule of labor. In South stood before his God. The assassin lifted him

the land ascertained as aforesaid. Carolina there were at the last census of white || from earth to heaven and so conferred a bless- There is no gift here. The freedmen pay population 291,388, and of colored population | ing But he remained an assassin none the less. for everything. And the lands assigned are 412,320, of whom only 9,914 were free. There We reduced the fathers to slavery, and the public lands, which we have given to States and were in that State 16,217,700 acres of land, of sons have periled life to keep us free. That for schools and railroads and other uses which which only 4,072,651 acres were improved. || is the way history will state the case. Now,

were national in their character. Millions of That land was owned by the white men. Here then, we have struck off their chains. Shall acres have been unwisely given away; but and there exceptional cases occurred; whether we not help them to find homes? They have these lands, not given away, but sold for a according to law or against the provisions of not had homes yet. We have not let them price, will confer upon freedmen the inestimalaw I do not stop to inquire. But it is said that know the meaning of the sacred name of home. ble blessings of hearth-stone and home. some men of African descent did own both Why, sir, our humblest man, if God has

Thesixth section of the bill, as now reported, land and slaves. But the rule was otherwise. given him strength enough of mind and body

will not, I trust, be opposed in any quarter. The white men owned the land; the black men to make him accountable, may find some will | Let me read it: gave it its value.

ing wife and lowly home. If he is a true man SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That whenever · But now a new condition of things is cre- he will find there a heaven upon earth. No

the former owners of lands occupied under General

Sherman's field order, dated at Savannah, January ated by our own act. Every man is made free. monarch upon his throne is more secure in the 16, 1865, shall apply for restoration of said lands, tho There is no longer ownership of labor. Every enjoyment of his rights than he. The invisible Commissioner shall procure other lands by rent or lair man admits that these four hundred thou- guardianship of law surrounds and keeps him

purchase, not exceeding forty acres for each occu

pant: Provided, That such lands can be procured at sand freedmen, declared free first by military safe. What he has is his own. His wife is

an average cost not exceeding twenty-five dollars order and then by sacred enactment, must be his, and when he enters under the low roof at per acre, and before such restoration is made, shall for a season protected by the Government | night, the day's work done, the sweet voices

allot and assign them to such occupants upon the

terms and conditions named in the preceding section, which released them from bondage. Would that call him father are the voices of his own. or set apart for them, out of the public lands assigned our duty be discharged; would the President

be poor and friendless outside of home, for that purpose, forty, acres cach, upon the samo who has felt through his whole life the oppress- but he is rich there, and no mortal man in the

terms and conditions: Provided, That no sale shall

be made of lands so purchased at a price less than ive power of southern capital; would he be- || Republic is strong enough to do him wrong the cost thereof to the United States,

He may

pro

ment:

Why, Mr. Speaker, in some of the States the Gentlemen may appeal to the passions and his recollection. But if the Chair hears no bureau has given much more aid to the white prejudices of the people, and urge that this objection the amendment will be considered refugees than to the freedmen. The bureau has system should be continued as a punishment as again before the committee for action. not confined its operation to the men who were to be inflicted upon the southern people. But The Clerk read the amendment, as follows: made free.

let me say to gentlemen that the period has Amend by inserting at the close of the first proviso In Alabama there had been on the 1st of gone by when the American people, taxed as

the following: April, eight hundred and seventy-nine thou- they are almost to death for the purpose of

But the roturns required to be made by such pror

identinstitutions and savings banks after July, 1866, sand three hundred and forty-three rations is. supporting this Government, are going to con- shall be made on the first Monday in January and sued to resugees and three hundred and sixty- tribute longer to the maintenance of this class

the first Monday in July in each year, in such forin four thousand two hundred and fifteen rations

and manner as may be prescribed by the Commisof persons for the sole purpose of inflicting a sioner of Internal Revenue. issued to freedmen, and in Arkansas there had punishment upon the southern people, who Mr. MORRILL. Mr. Chairman, I will say been one million four thousand eight hundred wrongfully undertook to destroy this Govern

this amendment is to allow these institutions and sixty-two rations issued to refugees, and ment, Sir, we do not propose to destroy our

to make their returns and pay their taxes semiseven hundred and fifteen thousand tive hun- selves in order to crush the southern people.

annually instead of monthly, because it is dred and seventy-two issued to freedmen. The SPEAKER. The morning hour has

almost impossible for them to keep accounts Now, sir, all we propose to do is to let freed- expired, and the bill goes over until to-mor

with so large a number of depositors and make man have a chance to buy a home. No land row. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr.

returns monthly. is to be given away to him, but the Govern- Eliot] has five minutes of his hour remaining. Mr. BRANDEGEE. That subject is not ment that has made him free helps him to pur

ENROLLED BILL SIGNED. chase a home. And this is all I desire to say

now before the House, as the amendment was in offering this bill for consideration. Its pro

Mr. TROWBRIDGE, from the Committee agreed to last evening visions have been carefully examined and will on Enrolled Bills, reported that the committee

The CHAIRMAN." The Chair put the ques. receive, I trust, the favor of the House. I had examined and found truly enrolled a bill

tion to the committee, and there was no objechave made a motion to recommit, and I

tion to taking up the amendment again. (S. No.318) entitled " An act to authorize the pose to withdraw that motion and call the appointment of an additional Assistant Secre

Mr. THAYER. I understand the gentleprevious question unless some other members tary of the Navy;" when the Speaker. signed

man from Vermont said there would be no desire to debate this bill. the same.

vote on the amendment last evening.

Mr. MORRILL. I referred to the paraMr. LE BLOND. There are persons who

MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE. desire to debate this bill. I hope, therefore, A message from the Senate, by Mr. Forner, graph, and stated that that would be open to

further the gentleman will not put the bill upon its its Secretary, informed the House that the Sen

The CHAIRMAN. The Globe corroborates passage now, but let it go over for a day or ate had passed, without amendment, House bill

the Chair. The amendment is before the House two. There are some very important features No. 453, for the relief of Cornelius B. Gold, by unanimous consent. contained in this bill, and I think it should at late acting assistant paymaster United States Mr. BRANDEGEE. I rise to a point of least be amended in those respects. Whether Navy.

order. The Chair asked whether there was intended or not, it is nevertheless true that this The message further informed the Honse objection and my colleague [Mr. Deming] bill confers a power which I think is very objec- that the Senate had passed, with amendments, demanded that the amendment should be retionable. It is all objectionable, in my opin- House bill No. 281, to amend the postal laws, | ported before he yielded his consent. After ion, because I am opposed to the entire princiin which amendments the concurrence of the

the amendment was read he rose and objected. ple and theory of this bill. House was requested.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair did not hear But the fourth section is exceedingly objec- The message further informed the House

the objection, and the amendment is before the tionable. In that section there is a provision that the Senate had passed bills of the follow

committee. that authorizes this Government to furnish sup- ing titles, in which the concurrence of the The amendment was agreed to. plies to these colored people in the South. It House was requested:

Mr. BLAINE. I move the following amendis true it only purports upon its face to confer An act (S. No. 284) for the relief of the the power to furnish medical aid; yet the power children of Otway H. Berryman, deceased;

and is there given not only to feed but to clothe the

Insert after the word "thercof" in line twenty

four hundred and forty, as follows: colored people who have been slaves. That of An act (S. No. 330) making further provis. And provided further, That in lieu of all other itself is objectionable. It is class legislation; ion for the establishment of an armory and an

taxes imposed on national banks there shall hereaf

ter bo levied, collected, and paid a tax of one half it is doing for that class of persons what you arsenal of construction, deposit, and repair on per cent. per annum on the average amount of their do not propose to do for the widows and orphans Rock Island, in the State of Illinois.

doposits. throughout the length and breadth of this whole

Mr. Chairman, I wish to make a statement country. In my judgment the entire theory of

of one or two minutes on the question of taxthis bill is mischievous and it ought not to pass.

Mr. MORRILL. I move that the rules be

ation as it will hereafter affect the national It by no means ought to pass with a provision suspended, and that the House resolve itself into

banking system. By the decision of the Suof the kind to which I have referred. the Committee of the Whole on the state of

preme Court of the United States the stock of This system encourages idleness; and that the Union on the special order.

national banks has become subject to local and is one of the great objections to the entire

The motion was agreed to. theory on which this bill is based. The evi- So the rules were suspended; and the House | gentlemen indulge the hope that that decision

municipal taxation. I know a great many dence of this fact is brought before the Ameraccordingly resolved itself into the Committee

will be reversed or that Congress will declare the ican people in the report of Generals Steedof the Whole on the state of the Union, (Mr.

stock based on United States bonds exempted man and Fullerton, showing that the system

Dawes in the chair,) and resumed the consid- from all local taxation. I do not believe any which you have already inaugurated is objeceration of the special order, being a bill of the

gentleman here will live long enough to see tionable in every form in which you can view House (No. 513) to amend an act entitled

either result attained. We must therefore it. I am personally acquainted with General

"An act to provide internal revenue to sup- make up our minds henceforth that the prop: Steedman; and I know him to be a high- .port the Government, to pay interest on the

erty of national banks is to be taxed by local minded, honorable, and intelligent man. What

public debt, and for other purposes," approved | authority as other property is taxed. I conever those two men have presented to the

June 30, 1864, and acts amendatory thereof. sider that is inevitably settled and permanent. American people as facts existing in the south

The Clerk read as follows:

It is no longer a theory; it has become a stubern States may be received as entitled to the

That section one hundred and fourteen be amended

born fact. fullest respect.

by inserting after the word "periodically” in the

first sentence of said section the words, or other- The question is whether we shall tax these If, sir, that report be true, then it becomes vise, or publishing any guide, almanac, catalogục, national banks in an extraordinary manner by the duty of this Congress to strike down that directory, or any other paper or book."

the national Government. We tax them two system at once, leaving these colored people, Mr. JENCKES. I believe that no vote dollars per thousand upon their capital. We free as they are, to make a living in the same was taken last night on the amendments of- tax them live per cent. semi-annually on their way that the poor whites of our country are fered to the paragraph preceding this. When net earnings. We tax them one per cent. on doing. Give them no encouragement beyond the gentleman from Vermont offered them, I their circulation and one half per cent. on the encouragement to industry which the re- understood that no vote was to be taken upon their average deposits-making thus an aversources of the country offer to every man who them then.

age aggregate taxation by the national Govwill labor. Why, sir, when we look at these Mr. MORRILL. As I understand it, the ernment of more than two per cent. on the galleries, and see them crowded day after day amendments which I offered last evening were capital of national banks. with stout, hearty, able-bodied colored men, || adopted; but it was understood that the para- I am informed this morning by the Compwho, to all appearance, draw their rations from graph should be open to amendment this morn- troller of the Currency one half of one per the Government, and who seat themselves here ing.

cent. on the gross deposits on the present avin our galleries during the entire day, it is but Mr. JENCKES. I did not understand that erage in the banks will yield $2,600,000, while an evidence that the system itself is mischiev- the last amendment offered by the gentleman | all the expenses of the Currency Bureau will ous, and ought not to be encouraged by the was voted on last evening.

not be over $260,000 a year. The tax which Congress of the United States. Let those Mr. MORRILL. I thought it was.

I propose will therefore yield ten times as people be thrown upon their own resources, sumed that no one objected to it.

much as all the expenses involved in conductand wherever labor is in demand you will find The CHAIRMAN. According to the rec- ing the Currency Bureau, and I include cost them going there seeking employment, and ollection of the Chair, the amendment was of engraving and renewing notes, clerk hire, they will obtain it.

adopted; and the Globe sustains the Chair in and all incidental charges.

TAX BILL.

I pre

ures.

annum.

By our own action here, whether intended banks have averaged ten per cent. per annum. experience is suggesting that it needs improve. or not, these banks have lost the immunity | Some of them have paid enormous dividends. ment. The proposition of the gentleman from which they thought they had when they were Take the national banks of this city. Does Maine, (Mr. Blaine,] to remove all taxes organized, that they were to be free from all | anybody doubt that the First National Bank of but the tax on deposits, unless that taxlocal and municipal taxation. It is now from Washington has paid forty to fifty per cent. per ation be made by gradual increase at fixed two to five per cent. throughout the United annum?

periods so as to prevent discounting uponu States. The city banks, with large deposits, A MENDER. How about the Merchants' deposits, would only be to strengthen one of may not care for it, while it will result in driva Bank?

its greatest vices. The chief vice of the sysing the country banks to the wall. I repeatit, Mr. PIKE. I do not know about the Mer- tem is discounting upon deposits. It aggrasir, that, stand it as well as the city banks may, chants Bank. There has been the same kind vates every financial crisis. When money is the currency banks, under the duplex system of of rascality in that bank that has pervaded some abundant it tempts the banks to invite operataxation now in force from the General Gov- other banks that we do not know so much about. tors into speculation, and the moment contracernment and the local authorities, will event- [Here the hammer fell.]

tions begin it cxaggerates their virulence by ually destroy the weak banks in the country. Mr. LYNCH. I move to strike out the last | hundreds of per cent. There should be no We have no power over local taxation. That word in the amendment.

banking upon deposits, or at least not to an may be said to have passed from our control; Mr. Chairman, I think it would be better if extent greater than sixty or seventy per cent. but we do have power to relieve a large por- my colleague would withdraw his amendment, beyond the capital of the incorporation. I tion of the burden we now put upon them by H and allow it to be offered to the currency act, | hope that when the banking bill comes beforo national authority. I do not believe we should where it properly belongs.

It is not appro

us it will be so restricted, and that the banks use these banks as a source of revenue, to the priate to this bill, which provides only for the will be called upon to pay at least the taxes they destruction of their business. If we get ten taxation of State banks, and not national now pay. These banks have paid dividends of times as much out of them as they cost us, I banks. It provides that this section shall not from ten to one hundred per cent.-I can name think the General Government ought to be apply to associations which are taxed under one of them that declared a dividend of one satisfied with it.

and by virtue of the act " to provide a national hundred per cent.; and this is the last place in Mr. PIKE. The processes by which wealth currency secured by a pledge of United States the world to begin remitting taxes.

The Goyis produced ought to be relieved. That we all bonds, and to provide for the circulation and ernment keeps in these banks an average balagree to. But here is an attempt, at the ex- redemption thereof." The national currency ance of from forty to sixty million dollars, and pense of those processes, to relieve wealth act provides for the taxation of national banks. for the use of that money they can well afford itself. I protest, upon sound principles of The amendment of my colleague does not to pay the taxes assessed upon them. I hope political economy, against it, and I hope the properly belong to this bill.

that when we consider this banking system again attempt will not succeed. I am surprised that Mr. BLAINE. What my colleague [Mr. we shall prohibit the Government from keepmy colleague, with the history of our State | Lynch] suggests is a mere matter of form. ing deposits in any of these banks, to be banked before him, should make this motion. I have The amendment as offered by me is entirely upon and scattered by the half million as was looked at the report of the Comptroller of the pertinent to the pending bill. I rise now to done by the bank in this city which lately exCurrency, and I find the fact to be in regard to correct my other colleague's [Mr. Pike's fig ploded. If you transfer the tax to deposits, I the banks of Maine, according to the returns He is usually very accurate, but he is venture to say that before this session closes of July and October last, that they pay a tax out of the line just now. I understand him to you will so restrict the system of deposits as of less than one per cent. per annum on their say that the national banks now in existence to diminish the collection of taxes from the capital.

are no more heavily taxed by the national Gov- national banks with their dividends and reserve Mr. BLAINE. I made my statement in ernment than the State banks formerly were profits averaging probably forty per cent. per view of the tax to be levied under the decision by our State laws. Now, the gentleman knows of the Supreme Court-not what has been but that for years and years in Maine we had a tax Mr. BLAINE. Does the gentleman from what is to be imposed hereafter.

of one per cent. only on the capital of the Pennsylvania [Mr. KELLEY), understand that Mr. PIKE. Now, then, our banks for a banks, as levied directly by State authority. my amendment proposes any change in that series of years have paid to the State one per Their circulation was not limited as is that of

respect? cent. on their capital. The United States the national banks. No matter how much it Dir. KELLEY. The gentleman from Maine gathers less than one per cent. upon it and in was, they were not taxed on their circulation, || [Mr. BLAINE] proposes to put a tax upon return therefor furnishes them with their cir- and were not taxed for a license. They paid | deposits. culating notes. So that to-day the banks of only one per cent. on their capital stock. The Mr. BLAINE. I do not propose to put any Maine are paying a less amount to the General national banks pay for a license, five per cent. more tax upon deposits than is imposed now. Government than they have heretofore paid to on their annual net earnings, one per cent. Mr. KELLEY. It will prove to be putting the State, and by law they are exempt from State annually on their circulation, and a half per the tax upon the gas of the balloon after the tax. It is said that they have now to pay local cent. on their deposits.

balloon has exploded. taxes, in accordance with the decision of the Mr. PIKE. The average tax, taking the Mr. BLAINE. If the gentleman will explain Supreme Court. Well, local taxes are burden- July and October returns of 1865, on the cir- to the House how taxing deposits is going to some, but farmers, merchants, and everybody | culation and deposits of Maine banks amounted facilitate banking on deposits, he will give us else have to pay them, and in the banking act to eighty-two one hundredths of one per cent. some new light upon it. it is provided specially that the national banks I take those two months because they give a

Mr. KELLEY. The gentleman proposes to shall pay precisely the same tax that the State fair average. Now, you have to add to that remove all other taxes and to leave the tax on banks do. In my own State the local banks five per cent. on the dividends, and one fifth of | deposits. have always had to pay local taxes in addition one per cent. for a license, so that altogether Mr. BLAINE. The present tax is a half to the one per cent. State tax, so the national the tax is less than one per cent. per annum. of one per cent. upon the deposits. The banks to-day are upon the same footing pre- Mr. BLAINE. Alll maintain is, that whereas amendment which I have proposed leaves cisely as the State banks were before the the old State tax was one per cent., the national that tax just where it now is. Therefore if national bank act was passed, with this excep- banks pay more than double that tax.

you are going to stimulate discounts by taxing tion, that the General Government now fur- Since this discussion commenced, the gen- || deposits, then you have done it already. The nishes their circulating notes which before, as tleman from Iowa [Mr. ALLISON] has placed gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Kelley] State banks, they had to furnish themselves. in my hands a letter from a constituent of his maintains that if we put this tax on deposits

Now, sir, is this bank interest suffering? Will which clearly shows how very heavily the tax it will stimulate these enormous discounts. I anybody say that it is suffering? No returns of on national banks foots up in čertain localities. cannot see the point of the argument. I do dividends are provided for under the general | The bank referred to is a small one of but not see the connection between the cause and law. I cannot ascertain from the Comptroller $50,000 capital, and yet the taxes, national and

presumed effect. what dividends these national banks have made. || local, for the past year amounted to $3,467 87, My proposition is just this: in view of local But I suppose no man can doubt that from the

or nearly seven per cent. on the capital of the taxation we must lighten the national taxation; beginning of the present national banking sys- bank. And this is no exceptional case. In and I would take it off the country banks, where tem until the present time, their dividends have many communities the taxes are fully as heavy | circulation is the great object, and leave it on been on average at least nine or ten per cent. as in the instance named, and in some places the city banks, those of Philadelphia and New

Mr. PRICE. I desire to ask the gentleman they are even higher. As to the question of York and other large places where deposits in a question. I understand him to say that there | profit, my colleague says that these banks have the course of mercantile transactions are very is no means by which he can ascertain the made dividends of ten per cent. Why, the large. Probably the gentleman from Philadelamount of dividends of these national banks. bonds they have deposited in the Treasury, || phia (Mr. Kelley) represents a large banking Mr. PIKE. I inquired of the Comptroller | national securities, paying six per cent. in gold, || interest in that city; and it may

do very

well and he said he had none in the office. would have divided ten per cent.

for him to resist this proposition. I represent Mr. PRICE. There is not a bank organized [Here the hammer fell.]

acountry district, and I want the city banks, in the United States since the passage of the act Mr. LYNCH. I withdraw the amendment with their enormous profits upon deposits, to that does not return to the Comptroller under to the amendment.

pay the expenses of this system. I do not oath the amount of dividends and when paid. Mr. KELLEY. Mr. Chairman, there will wonder that the gentleman from Philadelphia

Mr. PIKE. I merely know what the Comp- come a time for the discussion of this whole l should resist that. But I want to put it there; troiler tells me, and I hold in my hand his pub- | banking system. It was adopted under exi- I want those who are able to pay the tax to lished report and that does not give any returns. gencies, and may or may not be a permanent bear it. I want the sources of business, the Now, I have no doubt the dividends of these part of the system of the country. At any rate, country banks in the small communities, the

per cent.

little rills away up in the mountains, before | tion. Now, I do not desire that the deposits, Mr. BLAINE. The chairman of the Comthey get into the oceans of Philadelphia and which I hope will not hereafter be as great a mittee of Ways and Means did not hear me or New York, to get a chance to live.

source of profit to the banks, shall be the only | he would have been relieved from the necessity Mr. KELLEY withdrew his amendment to source of taxation. I wish that when we come of moving that the committee rise. There is the amendment of Mr. BLAINE.

to deal with the banking system we may be free an impression prevailing that the amendment Mr. BOUTWELL. I renew the amendment to perfect it as experience may suggest. That belongs to the currency bill. I suppose the to the amendment. is my philosophy.

idea is to get Congress to enact a law absolutely Mr. LYNCH. I rise to a point of order. My Mr. Chairman, I withdraw the amendment prohibiting local taxation. I believe that to point of order is, that the amendment of my to the amendment.

be a “harder lick" at the local revenues than colleague [Mr. BLAINE] is not germane to this Mr. RANDALL, of Pennsylvania. Mr. this would be to the national revenues.

Wo paragraph.

Chairman, I consider that the best course we can better afford to remit the tax here than they The CHAIRMAN. The Chair overrules the

can pursue in reference to this question of can to forego it there. I think nothing in the point of order.

State taxation and Federal taxation upon these currency bill will prove as acceptable as this Mr. BRANDEGEE.

It is too late to raise banks is at this time to follow the Committee | would. But as I do not wish to press my amend. that point of order now, for the amendment of Ways and Means in reference to this tax. ment at a time when its friends would be somehas been received and debated.

I deem this not the proper time to touch that what divided, I now propose to withdraw it. Mr. BOUTWELL. While we have no means conflict which must arise between Federal and Mr. STEVENS. I had intended to offer an of knowing exactly what the profits of these State taxation upon these banks. I would pre- amendment to this section relieving the Statebanks are as a whole, the report of the Comp- fer to reserve that question till it shall be pre- bank circulation, after the 1st of July next, troller discloses some facts which will enable sented, as it will be shortly, by the Committee from the ten per cent. tax, but understanding the House to judge whether they are able to on Banking and Currency. Then we can take the Committee on Banking and Currency debear the taxation which is proposed to be put up and discuss the whole system of banking in sign to make a revision of the general currency upon them by this bill. On the 1st of July reference to taxation. We can then decide act I shall withhold my proposition until then. last, according to their returns, the aggregate also whether this House is prepared to con- Mr. BALDWIN. I move to strike out in line of the banks had a surplus fund of $31,000,000. tinue a system of deposits in these national twenty-four bundred and forty-eight, "five hunThey were also liable for dividends unpaid, depositories without any adequate security | dred and insert “one thousand." that is, dividends which had been declared but therefor--a system which has led to such im. Mr. Chairman, my opinion is that the de. which had not then been paid, to the amount mense losses by the Government. I hope, l posits in the banks described in this paragraph of $4,700,000 more. And they also had a profit therefore, that the House will follow the com- ought to be entirely exempted from taxation. account of $23,000,000, the whole making an mittee strictly in reference to this taxation. They are banks having no capital stock, and aggregate of profits of between $58,000,000 Mr. MORRILL. Mr. Chairman, I believe do no other business than receive deposits to and $59,000,000, then undivided, upon a capi- that the loss of revenue by taking this out will be loaned for the parties making the deposits, tal paid in of $325,000,000, or nearly eighteen amount to about seven million dollars. The without compensation. A title to signify wbat On the 1st of October last their sur- subject has been hitherto considered in con

on- | these banks are would be "loan agencies." plus funds, which of course originated in profits nection with the currency bill, and therefore it || They are mere loan agencies. There is no previously made, amounted to $38,700,000. has not been introduced in connection with this more reason for taxing money put at interest Their unpaid dividends, that is, dividends bill

, which merely relates to State banks and through these agencies than for taxing money declared out of profits earned but not paid, savings institutions. I think that the whole putat interest by other methods. In deference amounted to $4,931,000 more, and their profit subject of the laws regulating national banks to the views of some gentlemen I waived the account proper, that is, the account not em- requires revision. I am satisfied that some amendment I intended offering and submitted braced either in unpaid dividends or surplus | relief must be given to those institutions or the one now pending. The depositors in these funds, amounted to $32,350,000 more, making they will soon perish; I am willing, for one, banks are generally poor people who make an aggregate of profits on the 1st of October to afford them some relief. But I prefer that small gains and lay them aside quarterly or last of $85,000,000 on a capital paid in of about the question should come up distinctly and yearly. All their income from money invested $393,000,000, and showing that between July | separately in its proper place.

through savings banks is taxed five per cent. and October, a period of three months, after For the purpose of terminating debate, I move without regard to its amount, while the income deducting all the dividends paid, they have that the committee rise.

of richer people is exempt to the amount of carried their profits from $58,000,000 up to The motion was agreed to.

$1,000. În view of that tax, I suppose it is $85,000,000.

So the committee rose ; and the Speaker not more than just to exempt all deposits below Mr. BLAINE. Does not that come from having resumed the chair, Mr. DAWES reported || $1,000 from taxation. the sale of gold ?

that the Committee of the Whole on the state Mr. MORRILL demanded tellers. Mr. BOUTWELL. I do not know from of the Union had had under consideration the Tellers were ordered; and Messrs. MORRILL whence it comes ; I only know that it is there. Union generally, and particularly the special and BALDWIN were appointed.

Mr. HOOPER, of Massachusetts. I merely || order, being bill of the House No. 513, to The committee divided; and the tellers rewant to state in regard to that little bank that amend an act entitled “An act to provide ported-ayes 44, noes 49. the gentleman from Maine [Mr. BLAINE] says internal revenue to support the Government, So the amendment was disagreed to. is now so heavily taxed, that I find upon look- to pay interest on the public debt, and for Mr. O'NEILL moved to strike out these ing over the returns that with only $50,000 other purposes," approved June 30, 1864, and words: capital they have about $190,000,000 drawing acts amendatory thereof, and had come to no * Provided, That this section shall not apply to a 50interest, upon which, if they get only six per resolution thereon.

ciations which are tased under and by virtue of the cent., they will receive over $11,000 of profits.

act "to provide a national currency secured by & And I understand that this little bank-one of

pledge of United States bonds, and to provide for the Mr. MORRILL. I move that when the

circulation and redemption thereof." And the dethese rills up in the mountains, as the gentleCommittee of the Whole on the state of the

posits in associations or companies known as proviman describes them-pays semi-annual divi

dent institutions or savings banks, having no capital dends of ten per cent., making twenty per

Union shall resume the consideration of House stock and doing no other business than receiving debill no 513, all debate upon the pending par

posits to be loaned or invested for the sole benefit of cent. per annum.

the parties making such deposits, without profit or Mr. BOUTWELL. I withdraw my amend- | agraph and the amendments thereto terminate

compensation to the association or company, shall be ment to the amendment. in five minutes.

exempt from tax or duty on so much of their depos Mr. KELLEY. Mr. Chairman, I move pro

Mr. HARDING, of Illinois. I trust that will

its as they have invested in securities of the United

States, and on all deposits less thon $500 made in the formů to amend the amendment by striking not be agreed to. I desire to have an oppor

namo of any one person: And provided further, That

any bank ceasing to issue notes for circulation, and out the last word. My object in offering this tunity to move to strike out the last proviso of amendment is simply to say a word in reply the paragraph.

which shall deposit in the Treasury of the United to the gentleman from Maine, (Mr. Blaine.]

Mr. MORRILL. The gentleman will have

States, in lawful money, the amount of its outstand

ing circulation, to be redeemed at par, under such The gentleman suggests that I represent a

an opportunity to move that amendment. regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may large banking capital in Philadelphia. I wish

The motion was agreed to.

prescribe, shall be exempt from any tax upon such

circulation, him to understand that if that banking capital

TAX BILL--AGAIN.

The amendment was disagreed to. derives as it does enormous profits from bank- Mr. MORRILL. I move that the rules be Mr. THAYER. I move to strike out in line ing on deposits, I desire to impose a restric- suspended, and that the House resolve itself

twenty-four hundred and forty-two the word tion upon it. I want to prevent, by legisla- || into the Committee of the Whole on the state "or,' and insert after the word “banks' the tion, the effect of which shall be gradual, the of the Union on the special order.

words “savings-fund and other savings institubanking institutions of the country from bank- The motion was agreed to.

tions." ing on their deposits, whereby I affirm they So the rules were suspended; and the House The amendment was agreed to. stimulate and produce crises and aggravate accordingly resolved itself into the Committee them when they come.

Mr. HARDING, of Illinois. I move to of the Whole on the state of the Union, (Mr. My philosophy, which the gentleman could

strike out the following: Dawes in the chair,) and resumed the consid

Provided further, That any bank ceasing to issue not comprehend, is this: if we now put all our eration of the special order, being a bill of the notes for circulation, and which sball deposit in the taxes on the deposits, we shall not, when we House (No. 513) to amend an act entitled “An Treasury of the United States, in lawful money, the come to consider the bank bill, be able to re- act to provide internal revenue to support the

amount of its outstanding circulation,

to be redeemed

at par, under such regulations as the Secretary of the strict the banking on deposits, because he and Government, to pay interest on the public debt, Treasury may prescribe, shall be exempt from aug others will make the argument that if we do and for other purposes," approved June 30, tax upon such circulation, this we will release the banks from the taxa- 1864, and acts amendatory thereof.

The amendinent was disagreed to.

ܕ ܕ

CLOSE OF DEBATE.

« PoprzedniaDalej »