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32D CONG.....20 Sess.
The Coinage Question--Mr. Dunham.
Ho. OF REPs.
ent silver coins. They have already been en- inal value, but it sells as a commodity at its market rior minds who cannot grasp so great a question hanced, when compared with gold, by natural | price. This was the case with gold before the as quickly as the committee to which he belongs.
It neither increases nor decreases their act of 1834; it is now the case with silver. Gen- We should have an opportunity to examine. value. It will leave that value as it is, to be regu- || tlemen talk about a double standard of gold and Mr. DUNHAM. I am obliged to the gentlelated by the market, but it provides for making silver as a thing that exists, and that we pro- man for his compliment. There are some gentlenew coins for the convenience of the people, whose || posed to change. We have had but a single stand- men who; from their manner at least, think they nominal value shall correspond somewhat to their | ard for the last three or four years. That has understand these questions as well as the Comreal value, and pass currently at that nominal || been, and now is, gold. We propose to let it mittee on Ways and Means. I do not want to value by tale. It'does not change the value of any- | remain so, and to adapt silver to it, to regulate it force the House to anything, and if there be any thing, but it gives new coins, with their actual in- by it. This is eminently proper. Gold is the general objection to the call for the previous questrinsic value marked upon them, which is not now production of our own country; silver is not. Lettion, I shall not make it. I designed giving the the case with the present silver coins.
us use our own productions, and, so far as that House the opportunity to pass this bill, or to refer “I know, Mr. Speaker, we are told if we will use can, increase its value. Why should we leave it, which will be to defeat it, as to it seemed best. only wait patiently, this thing will soon regulate our own to use the productions of a foreign soil, I am sure there is nothing unfair or improper in itself, and that the two metals will soon return to when we can gain nothing by so doing?
that. their former comparative value. I think those Another important provision of this bill is, that But I wish to reply to one remark of the genvho thus content ihemselves have but little heeded hereafter the Government shall make a charge of | tleman right here.I repeat, we do not change the the lessons of the past, and as little attended to one half of one per cent. for coinage at the Mint, | whole present silver currency of the country. the prospects of the future. They have but little to defray the actual expenses. The bill also pro- We do not depreciate it. We do not propose to studied ihe cause which has produced the diffi- vides that the depositor may, at his option, have change its value in any way. We do not propose culty, or they would see that it still continues, and his gold or silver cast into bars or ingots, or formed to recoin the whole silver coin of the country. We to all human probability must continue with an into disks of standard or pure metal, of one, two, propose to leave the existing coin where it now is; increasing power. The cause, as I have before three, five, or ten ounces, and upwards, with the where it has been for at least the last three years; stated, is the cheap production of gold. The value || weight and fineness stamped upon them, for which that is, leave it to sell in the market for its value of a thing where the production is unlimited, is in the charge shall not exceed the actual cost of man- as merchantable bullion. We propose to buy as proportion to the labor required to produce and ufacture. This is what is usually, though not much of this merchantable bullion, at its actual get it to market, compared to the labor required very properly, denominated a seigniorage. market value, as may be necessary, and out of it to produce other commercial commodities which Mr. BROOKS. 'I do not intend to interrupt the to make and put in circulation, for the convenience are ex 'hanged for it.
gentleman, but would ask what he designs to do of those who want it, a new coin, of the same deThis is proved by the state of things existing in with this bill when he has finished his speech? If nominations, to be sure, but of a different weight California and Australia, where the effect of the he proposes to put it on its passage, it will be ne- and value, the stamp upon which shall truly indismall amount of labor required to produce gold is cessary to make some inquiries as he goes along. cate its value. directly seen by the increased quantity necessarily Mr. DUNHAM. I am ready to answer any
Mr. MILLSON. I wish to make a suggestion given in exchange for every other commodity pro- || inquiry which may be put to me. I intend, at the to the gentleman from Indiana, which I trust will duced by labor-in the increased quantity which close of my remarks, to call for the previous ques- meet with his approval, as I doubt not it will meet has to be given for labor itself in other pursuits. | tion, and leave the House to put the bill on its with the concurrence of the House. This is really Why? Because if labor in other pursuits did not passage, continue the discussion of it in the House, a very important bill, and I am sure the gentleman command about the quantity of gold which that or to refer it to the Committee of the Whole on himself would not desire the House should pass same labor applied directly to raising the gold the state of the Union, as it may see proper. on it without the opportunity for mature examinwould, it would immediately be withdrawn from Mr. FREEMAN. I will ask the gentleman ation. I merely suggest to the gentleman that, those other pursuits and directed to raising the from Indiana whether he has the least idea of pul- instead of terminating the debate and forcing the golu. Therefore, as much less labor is required ting a bill of this importance on its passage with || House to a vote, he will allow the bill, by gennow to produce gold than before the discovery of out any discussion in the House?
eral consent, to be referred to the Committee of those mines, labor has been attracted to its produc- Mr. DUNHAM. The question has been be- || the Whole. Then he may move a reconsideration, the supply has been vastly increased, and fore Congress for nearly the whole of two ses- tion of that vote, which he may call up to-morrow, the value, when compared with other articles, / sions.
and thereby make the bill the first one in order for diminished. If the production of these new mines Mr. FREEMAN. Before your committee, I discussion, and give the House an opportunity of should now cease, the present supply of gold || suppose.
examining in print the amendments which have would not be diminished; and as before their dis. Mr. DUNHAM. It has been before the Sen- been proposed to the bill by the Committee on covery the production of gold kept pace with that || ate, and this particular subject of seigniorage has Ways and Means, as well as those submitted by of silver, there is no reason why the present rel- | been discussed upon one side, at any rate, in this the gentleman himself. ative value of the two metals should not be main- || House, as the gentleman from New York (Mr. Mr. DUNHAM. I have remedied the whole tained, at least for some time to come. The evil | BROOKS) will recollect; and if he does not, I will difficulty. I have already made a motion which which we now endure would still continue and endeavor to remind him and the House of a speech will keep this bill before the House. I have no would need a remedy; but so far from the supply | delivered by him upon it, at the last session. desire, I repeat again, to force this bill to a vote from these mines ceasing, there is every prospect, Mr. BROOKS. 'With the gentleman's permis- | in the House; and I say again, if there is any genas before observed, of its continuing in an increas- sion, I will state that a proposition for seigniorage eral objection to my calling the previous question, ing ratio. On the other hand, what have we to was then introduced, and on a vote by yeas and I will not do it. Certainly, the House have it in look to for the increase of silver? Nothing, ex- nays received only fifty votes in the affirmative. their power to vote down the call for the previous cept that quicksilver is a little cheaper from the Mr. DUNHAM. I am happy the gentleman question, or not. I hope that gentlemen will not discovery of new mines, the productions of which has reminded me of that fact; I will endeavor to further interrupt me, until I get through with the are not subject to the monopoly which has con- give the gentleman some reasons why it then re- general remarks which I wish to make in explanatrolled that article heretofore, and some little im- || ceived so little favor here. It will be recollected tion of this bill, and then I am willing to answer provements, perhaps, in the machinery with which that the gentleman made a speech against it, upon any question which may be put. the silver mines are to be drained and worked. an occasion which allowed no opportunity to re- To return to the question, 1 repeat, sir, we proSo far, then, from the present evil remedying | ply. I will now endeavor to satisfy the House || pose to impose a charge or seigniorage upon the itself, it must be greatly augmented.
that his argaments were founded in fallacy, and coinage of gold and silver, to cover the actual exAnother objection urged against this proposed that he was much mistaken in his facts.
pense of the coinage, instead of defraying that exchange is, that it gives us a standard of currency Mr. FREEMAN. As the gentleman designs pense, as heretofore, out of the public Treasury. of gold only. We sometimes become attached to putting this bill on its passage by calling for the This is a very important provision, and notwithold forms and usages, and obstinately insist upon previous question, I desire to propound an inquiry standing the gentleman tells me there was at the continuing them, without considering the reasons to him. I consider any change in the metallic || last session a vote of fifty only in favor of it, for their adoption, or the propriety of their con- currency of the country would interfere greatly trust gentlemen will give it their careful considtinuance. What advantage is to be obtained by with the interests of the people. Now, the gen- | eration, and that it will in consequence meet with a standard of the two metals, which is not as well, | tleman has stated that gold is now the standard of much more favor at this time. What do we proif not much better, attained by a single standard, value in this country, and that silver was much || pose? I am unable to perceive; whilst there are very more valuable than gold, and, therefore, I take it, Mr.·BROOKS. Let me correct the gentleman great disadvantages resulting from it, as the ex- not the standard of value.
in point of fact. He proposes to levy only the perience of every nation which has attempted to Mr DUNHAM. Yes, sir; precisely.
actual expenses of the coinage. The amount of maintain it has proved. The constant, though Mr. FREEMAN. But in order to bring silver | coinage at the Philadelphia Mint was, last year, sometimess low change in the relative values of the down to the standard of value, he proposes to de- || about $50,000,000. One half of one per cent. seigntwo metals has always resulted in great inconveni- | preciate the silver currency of the country: Every || iorage will be $250,000 annually. The expenses ence, and frequently in great loss to the people. | member of the House will see that that is a very of the Mint at Philadelphia, as I stated and proved Wherever the experiment of a standard of a single || important change, and one the people of this coun- the other day, are now nearly obtained out of the metal has been tried, it has proved eminently suc- try will not willingly submit to. The question of depositors, because the Mint, in the estimates, de cessful. Indeed, it is utterly impossible that you a change in the value of existing American coin, mands $250,000 as the expenses for maintaining itshould long at a time maintain a double standard. I is not one, however much it may be discussed in self, and says, at the same time, that it only wants The one or the other will appreciate in value when this House, which has been assented to by the only $48,000 out of the public Treasury, leaving compared with the other. It will then command voice of the people of the United States. I hope about $200,000 to come out of the public. Now, a premium when exchanged for that other; when the gentleman will not undertake to cut off dis- this bill proposes to add $250,000 more, to come it ceases to be a currency and becomes merchan- cussion on this subject. However well-informed out of the depositors, making $410,000. dise. It ceases to circulate as money at its nom- he may be, he should recollect that there are infe- Mr DUNHAM. The genueman has fallen 32p CONG.....20 Sess.
The Coinage Question—Mr. Dunham.
HO. OF REPS.
into an error; in this, that he has taken the appro- allowed in receiving it for the enhancement of and the frequency of the exchange of that wealth, priation for the Mini at Philadelphia alone as the value which that manufacture caused. It can only | leaving no traces of its having passed through our appropriation for the whole Mint establishment- be lost when the coin, by accident or design, skall | dominions other than an empty Treasury, and the the Mint at Philadelphia and all the branches. In be reduced to bullion again, and this labor evolved | profits of Wall street brokers, ship-owners, insurdiscussing this question of seigniorage, I propose (if I may use the expression) and lost to him who ance and express companies? Might we not as first to inquire what coinage is, its object, and should be so unfortunate as to meet with accident, | well at once pay these profits out of the Treasury? effect? I apprehend that much of the opposition or so stupid as to conceive the design.
The gentleman from New York, (Mr. Brooks,] which exists to the charge of seigniorage results It is possible that coin may be remelted into bul. in a speech which he made a few months ago, from the want of a proper understanding of the lion without loss to the holder, notwithstanding a talked most learnedly about this seigniorage being a nature, purposes, and effects of coining. Coining charge for coinage may have been exacted; but "relic of feudality.” He said that it ought to bedoes not fix or control the value of the currency. this can only happen when the production of long to the Grand Seignior, because it is seigniorIt is a simple manufacture of the metals into pieces gold is limited, and the demand for it for other || age. Indeed, he talked so very learnedly about of a convenient form and size, and marking upon purposes than currency is greater than the need of feudalities and feudalisms, that I almost imagined each its respective quality and quantity. For in- it for currency; and then the holder of the coins can that he was himself a relic of those ancient times stance, when we see an American silver dollar, | suffer no loss, as the bullion in them will be worth when men talked most flippantly about that which we know by the stamp upon it that it has been as much for those other purposes, as the coin is they least understood. Does he not know, does not examined and tested by the proper officers, and worth for circulation. But so long as the pro- | this House know, that seigniorage then meant that it contains four hundred and twelve and a duction of the metal is unlimited this cannot hap: something very different from what it does as used half grains of silver nine tenths fine. When we pen, as the demand for those other purposes will in this bill? Then was a tax upon the coinage see a gold dollar, we know in the same way that be met with the increased production of the raw to replenish the treasury of the feudal lord; here it it contains twenty-five and eight tenths grains of material. Impose a charge for coinage, then, equal means simply a charge, not for a revenue, but for gold of the same fineness of silver, (nine tenths.) to its cost, and there can scarcely be an over coin. the actual expenses of the manufacture of the coin. This does not fix its value, but it simply marks age, as no one will ordinarily have an article fab- || The gentleman seemed to me to under-estimate quality and quantity, for the convenience of those ricated unless its value when manufactured is equal | very much the intelligence of the House, when he who have occasion to receive or pay it, and saves to the value of the raw material added to the cost sought to appeal to your prejudices, by talking them the trouble of having to examine its quality, of manufacturing. There can be no danger of a about such a charge as being a relic of the feudal or weigh it to ascertain its quantity. The value short supply, because so long as the article is times of antiquity, in order to deter you from is then known by the market, and it is paid and worth this, it will be made. Impose this charge, adopting it, though it might be ever so proper and received accordingly.
and you at once put a stop to our present immense judicious in itself. The law fixes the quality and quantity of metal coinage at such an enormous expense to the Govin our coins, and when parties do not themselves ernment, induced and fostered by our free system, in their contracts stipulate the quantity and fine- | merely that the coin may be put into boxes and
FEBRUARY 2, 1853. ness of these metals, which are to be paid and re- sacks at the Mint and sent without emptying to The bill being again under consideration ceived, which they may always do, but stipulate the melting pois of Europe. When an hundred Mr. DUNHAM. I wish to inquire how much the name and number of the coins, the law sup- ounces of coin has cost and is worth as much cime I have left? plies the hiatus by presuming that the parties mu- more than an hundred ounces of bullion as it has The SPEAKER. About fifteen minutes, accordtually referred to ine law, made it a part of their cost to make it into coin, that coin will no longer ing to the recollection of the Chair. contract, and meant the quality and quantity of be remelted into bullion.
Mr. DUNHAM. I am sorry it is so short, and the metal contained in the stipulated name and We are coining over fifty millions a year. Who I will endeavor to condense my remarks as much number of coins. Thus, when one agrees to pay is so simple as to suppose that this is for circula- as possible. and the other to receive a hundred dollars, the full tion among our own citizens? Who so simple Mr. Speaker, the first thing to which I wish to terms of the contract, as construed by the law, as to believe that even the largest portion of it is call attention this morning, is a matter to which are to pay and receive the number of grains of now in the country? Who does not know that the gentleman from New York (Mr. Brooks) algold or silver of the legal standard (nine tenths we have been defraying the expense of this im- ! luded on yesterday. His statement was, that we fine) contained in one hundred dollars. This be- mense coinage for the convenience and profit of did not require one half of one per cent. seignioring ihe case, who ought to pay the expense of the New York brokers? Is it not time to put a stop age to pay the expenses of the Mint, and stated coinage, of this manufacture? Should not those lo this? Is it not time that those who derive the the fact that the Mint at Philadelphia only asked who are benefited by it, and in proportion to the profits of this coinage should pay the expense ? an appropriation of $48,000 out of the Treasury benefit they receive? Will any gentleman tell me But, sir, we are told that the Government mo- to defray its expenses for the next fiscal year, in why a man who only receives and pays out one nopolizes and controls the coinage, and should, addition to the profits it now derives from coinage. hundred dollars of this coin in the course of a year || therefore, bear the expense. That must be a cu- It is very true that that Mint only asks an approshould pay as much and perhaps more of the ex- rious monopoly where the monopolizer pays all priation out of the Treasury of $48,000 for the next penses of maintaining this Mint than the one who il the expense, and those upon whom it operates fiscal year; yet its whole expenses will be considermay handle ten thousand or ten millions? And have all the profit. The Government forces no ably more than that. For instance, during the past yet this may be the case so long as we raise our man to bring his raw material to the Mint to be year--and it is a matter to which I wish to call the revenues by a tariff, and the expense of the Mint coined. He may bring it or not, as he pleases; especial attention of the House--there have been is paid out of the Treasury. If we charge upon he will not bring it unless it is to his interest. If coined at Philadelphia 18,663,500 three-cent coins, the coinage a seigniorage sufficient to defray that he brings it, the Government puts its stamp upon making $559,905; as these coins are of the proporexpense, we make those who have the benefit of it, but it does not prohibit him from putting his tionate weight to our other silver coins, and are the manufacture pay the expenses of it.
own upon it and selling it, or from having it man- made of metal only seven hundred and fifty thouWhen you change bullion into coin, into a form ufactured into plate or jewelry. The Government sandths fine, instead of nine hundred, the proper which you may more conveniently use, it is just as stamp may increase its value, but it cannot dimin- standard, their nominal is twenty per cent. above much manufactured as if you had manufactured fish or limit it, for we see silver with that stamp their intrinsic value, or in other words, they are aciit into jewelry. He who has the benefit of the upon it selling above the stamped price. The law ually worth but two and a half cents each. Theremanufacture should pay the expenses in one case says that his creditors shall take this coin in pay fore, as silver is received at the Mint at its proper as much as in the other. When the bullion mer- ment of their debts, but it does not say that ihey value, and made into these coins, which are then chant takes his gold or silver bullion to the Mint, 1 shall receive no other. It says that they shall take paid out by tale at their nominal value, the profit and has it manufactured into coin, that coin is it at the value marked upon it; it does not say they from this source last year was over $100,000. This worth just as much more than the bullion as the shall allow no more for it. It may, therefore, be is what I call a seigniorage, and a very heavy one, labor is worth which has been expended in its to his advantage to have his bullion manufactured too. There is also a profit of the same character manufacture, and consequently he should pay for into coin, but it cannot be to his disadvantage. | arising from the copper coinage, and a charge for thai labor. It is for his convenience when he i Why, then, should the Government coin it free any refining or parting the metals. These profits go comes to pay it out to others. It saves him the more, I repeat, than it should make it into plate or towards defraying the expenses of the Mint. time and labor which would otherwise have been jewelry?
The estimated profits from the coinage of threerequired to weigh it. It gaves him the time, labor, But we are told it is for the general good of the cent pieces, for the next fiscal year, is $70,000; if, and annoyance which it would have taken to people that there should be plenty of coin; there- however, we should change the fineness of that ascertain and agree upon its fineness. It saves fore the Government should pay for the manufac- coin to the regular standard, which I think we all dispute as to quantity or quality. This is ture. So it is that there should be plenty of iron, ought, by all means, to do, we must add this worth more than the cost of manufacture. Il flour, and salt. Shall the Government pay for their amount to the $48,000 to be appropriated out of makes his commodity worth that much more. He manufacture also, or shall those pay who use them, | the Treasury; and if the gentleman had taken the can, therefore, afford to pay for it, and he ought that have the benefit of them? 'And if because it pains to examine, he would have discovered that to pay for it. When he parts with it, it will bring is useful to have an abundance of gold coin, the this sum was asked upon the estimate that there him that much more; for as the person who will expense of the manufacture should be paid out of would remain, unexpended, of the present year's receive it will have all the convenience of the manu- the Treasury, so as to encourage gold to come into means, to commence the next, $38,000, which facture, he will allow for its enhanced value. The the country to be coined, why should not the freight must also be added, making, in all, $156,000, to labor employed in the manufacture becomes incor- from California and Australia be also paid out of come out of the Treasury for Philadelphia alone. porated into the article as much as the raw material, the Treasury? Why should we not pay a pre- If we pass this bill making these new coins, and and like it contributes to its intrinsic value, and like mium for its production ? Nay, why not have it do not change the standard of the three-cent it passes from hand to hand in its circulation. I dug at public expense? And all to what good, when pieces, there will still be less demand for them, There can be no loss of the seignioraye so long as the irresistible laws of trade immediately sweep | and hence less profit from their manufacture. the coin remains, for whoever possesses that has it away, and distribute it among the commercial But, sir, this bill does not propose to apply the the benefit and value of the manufacture, and has ll nations of the world, in proportion to their wealth revenues from this seigniorage entirely to the
New SERIES.-No. 13.
320 Cong.....20 Sess.
Delay of Public Business-Mr. Houston, of Alabama.
expenses of that particular Mint or branch at which thus to go on, and compel the people to use these worth as much more than the bullion as that cost, they are raised. It will make them a common old, worn-out, depreciated coins, to have the coun- will derive a profit. The result will be, that in a fund, out of which the expenses of the coinage try filled with these debased three-cent pieces, or few years we shall have an abundant supply of at the Mint, and all of the branches, are to be to make a currency of the proper standard, ade- specie currency for the convenience of the couniry, defrayed, irrespective of the place of collection. quate to the wants and conveniences of the people? | and a comparatively small coinage will be suffiNow, sir, we know that it will cost a larger per || The manufacture and circulation of these three cient to maintain it, whilst now we have an imcent. to coin money in California, where provision cent coins should satisfy gentlemen that even a mense coinage at great expense, but a deficiency has already been made for a branch Mint, than at high seigniorage will not drive the metals from of specie for circulation. Philadelphia, as it now does at the branches at your Mints, when the business and wants of the New Orleans, Dahlonega, and Charlotte. Whilst people require them to go there for manufacture, it costs less than one half of one per cent. at Phila- and that a small reduction of the quantity of metal
DELAY OF PUBLIC BUSINESS. delphia, it costs about three per cent. at Dahlonega in a coin does not prevent its circulation when it and Charlotte. And I will suggest here, that the is made up by its convenience. That convenience
SPEECH OF HON. G. S. HOUSTON, Booner we abolish those two, the better for the causes circulation as well as the intrinsic value.
OF ALABAMA, Treasury and the country. We are continuing We are told if we make this charge for coinage them at a large annual expense, when neither of we shall drive the productions of our gold mines
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, them coins in a whole year as much as the Mint from our own to the British Mint for coinage.
February 16, 1853, at Philadelphia does in two days. They ought to Well, sir, if it must eventually go to the Eng. be abolished at once.
In reply to Mr. STEPHENS, of Georgia, concerning lish market, is it not better that it should
there The ordinary expenses of the Mint at Philadel- i directly, rather than it should be brought this way
the causes of delay in the transaction of the
Public Business. phia for the fiscal year '51-'52 was $271,213 95, | merely to be stopped here in transitu long enough of which $75,000 was appropriated out of the to be coined, at such immense expense, and then
The CHAIRMAN. The time fixed by the House Treasury, and the remainder was obtained from its go immediately to that market?" If it must go
for the termination of debate on this bill has now profits or reductions, of which, as before stated, there—if the laws of trade require it to go there, arrived, and the gentleman from Alabama, having over one hundred thousand dollars were received it will go, and it is better to let it go as bullion reported the bill, is, under the rules, entitled to from the coinaye of three-cent pieces. The amount than as coin, when, as the gentleman from New
address the committee on it for one hour. expended out of the Treasury at the Dahlonega | York himself shows, the impress of our eagle is
Mr. HOUSTON said: Mr. Chairman, on yesbranch, was $10,800; at the Charlotte branch effaced so soon as it touches British soil. This | terday when this bill was taken up, it was not my $10,615, and at the New Orleans branch about charge for coinage will send no more gold to Eng- intention to occupy any portion of the hour to $98,000. If we abolish the three-cent profits, the land, will not control the laws of trade, will not which I am entitled under the rules; but the charamount to be met during the next fiscal year out cause importations or exportations. Gentlemen acter of the debate which has taken place makes it of the Treasury or by seigniorage, for ordinary ex- will find proof of this in silver. We coin silver to some extent necessary that I should make, at penses, according to the estimates of the Treasury here free, but in England they charge a seigniorage least, a brief explanation, and, at the same time, Department, will be, for Philadelphia $156,000; l of some nine per cent. If you take a pound of to give, with all proper respect to other gentlemen, for Dahlonega $11,000; for Charlotte $11,600; for standard silver to the Mint, they coin it into sixty- | my opinion as to the causes of obstruction of the New Orleans $121,000; making the whole amount six shillings and give back sixty-two shillings— public business. of expenditures to be met from the Treasury or keeping four
shillings to pay for the coinage; or, I regret that the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. by seigniorage $299,600. I presume it is known which is in effect the same thing, they buy silver at STEPHENS) thoughi it proper for him to make an to the House that three-cent and cent coins are sixty-two shillings the pound by tale, and coin that assault upon the organization of this House. It only made at Philadelphia.
pound into sixty-six shillings. You may call it seemed to me that his remarks did not come legiti. Now, sir, the coinage for the calendar year seigniorage, or just what you please, but they make mately within the range of a proper debate, and 1852 was: so much by the coinage.
so far did he, in my view, travel out of the line of At Philadelphia... $52,403,669 Mr. BROOKS. You said upon gold.
pertinent discussion, that I am almost led to believe At New Orleans.
4,622,000 Mr. DUNHAM. Oh, no; you misunderstood he had some other than the ostensible object in At Charlotte.
396,739 me. They buy an ounce of gold at £3 178. 9d., view. I did not suppose that the relations between At Dahlonega.
473,815 in Bank of England notes, and they coin that the honorable gentleman and the Speaker, or be
ounce into L3 178. 101d., which is one and a half tween him and the committees of the House, were Total......
$57,896,218 penny, or about three cents seigniorage upon the of such a character as to induce so severe a critiA seigniorage of one half of one per cent. would
cism as that in which he has seen fit to indulge. be $289,481 09. So that supposing the future Mr. BROOKS. Will the gentleman allow me I am willing to admit that I have not discharged rate of coinage to continue equal to that of the to interrupt him for a moment?
my duty to my own entire satisfaction. I take it, past year, the gentleman from New York and Mr. DUNHAM. I should be glad to do so, we have but few members who have discharged the House will see, that if you hereafter make but I cannot, for I have very little time left. There their entire duty. We all have short-comings. your three-cent pieces of standard metal, the seign- | is also a seigniorage of one and a half per cent.
The frailties of our nature are such as to render it iorage proposed by this bill is not exorbitant, and upon the coinage of silver in France, and there is almost impossible for any of us to come fully up to will not defray the actual expenses of the coinage, a seigniorage upon the coinage of silver by every our sense of duty. The gentleman possibly reaches much less yield a profit to the Treasury. It is other civilized Government, so far as we have any the standard fixed by himself. If he does, I contrue if this bill shall pass, so as to authorize this reliable account. Yet we find this silver bullion gratulate his constituents on having a representaproposed new silver coinage, an income by way not coming to the United States where we coin it tive here who, at all times, discharges his duty as of profits will, for two or three years, be derived free; but forcing its way to Europe, or being drawn the representative of their interest in this House. from that, in addition to this seigniorage, but this thither by the wants of commerce and the irresist- I desire to say, in the beginning of my remarks, will not long continue. The expenses of the Cali- | ible laws of trade, to Mints imposing this enormous that upon no occasion during this Congress have fornia Mint will also have to be added, when it seigniorage. This shows that seigniorage cannot I made a motion or given a vote for the purpose shall be put into operation.
control the exportation or importation of silver of delaying business or postponing proper action There is another large loss to the Government bullion. Every man who at all understands the on any proposition; and for the correctness of this from the present system of coinage. The bullion principles of political economy, must see in a mo- statement, I appeal to the members, as well as to fund kepi at the Mint for the convenience of dement, that where property has to be exchanged by the Journals of this body. I have usually been positors is about $6,000,000. This fund is to en- means of a circulating medium-where commercial punctual in my attendance upon the meetings of able the Mint to receive the bullion of the depos- necessities require a circulating medium, there will the Committee on Ways and Means, and also of itor, assay it, and ascertain its value, and at once be the demand for the material which composes,
this House. I have generally voted upon propopay him for it in coin, which is usually done in a and there will it go.
sitions that have arisen, and in everything (I feel few hours, thus saving him from delay and loss The gentleman says that where the bullion of that I can properly say) I have faithfully
labored of interest. The interest on this fund alone is a the world goes, there will go the commerce of the to discharge my duty, and to prove myself worthy loss to the Government, for the benefit of the de- world; and he seems to infer that the gold takes of the trust which has been confided to me by my positors, of $360,000, for which no charge is now with it the commerce. But is not that a most ab- constituents and by this House. made, nor is proposed to be made by this bill. surd proposition? Does not the bullion go where Mr. Chairman, I hope I may be excused for
Sir, I wish, before leaving this subject, to again the commerce exists, and where it requires that recurring very briefly to the action of this concall the attention of the House to the enormous bullion for a circulating medium for the conveni- gress. At the first session, after the formation of coinage of these depreciated three-cent pieces—ence and necessity of that commerce? The gen- committees, every member knows, and none better over half a million of dollars in a single year. Why, tleman takes the cause for the effect. This seign- than the gentleman from Georgia, that the public sir, if we do not soon make some change in our iorage will have only this influence upon the export- printing (necessary to enable committees to invesother silver coins, the whole silver currency of the ation and importation of gold and silver: it will tigate subjects committed to them) was not execountry will soon consist of these three-cent coins | induce those who desire to make payments in Eu- cuted in due season. The printing of that session and the old worn-out clipped Spanish coins, whose rope to make them in bullion; or, if made in coin, is not, up to this period, entirely completed. All intrinsic value is depreciated about twelve per cent. it will tend to cause the reimportation of that coin; of the bills upon which the Committee on Ways on an average.
for if, as before stated, it is worth as much more and Means could act, in the absence of that printMr. OLDS. And yet such is the demand for than the bullion from which it was made as the ing, were reported to the House within the thirty small coin they pass current.
cost of manufacturing, he who exports it to a days prescribed by the rules; and I, as its chairs Mr. DUNHAM. Yes, sir; the demand for market where it is only recognized as bullion, will man, was instructed to report to this body, that silver coin for change is so great that they readily lose that much, and he who reimports it from such the reason why some of the bills could not be pass current, notwithstanding this vast deprecia- | a market to where it can again be used, and is reported within the prescribed time, was, that we tion. Which is the best, I submit, to leave things I needed as currency, and therefore where it is again could not examine the various items which they
contained in a satisfactory manner without the the House under one of its rules, which authorized bill, and if any solitary speaker touched a clause necessary public documents. I made that report. the Committee on Printing to report at any time, || in it I am not aware of it.
If the honorable gentleman had been disposed and in that way making the report a privileged Mr. STEPHENS. I spoke of the resolution to accuse me of delinquency, then would have been question. After the reports were made, they were introduced to-day which was to stop debate in one the time for him to have done it; and it does seem generally (and I believe in every instance) debaled hour. I did not say that the gentleman from Alto me as singular that he has postponed the in the House, and for the time precluded action | abama moved it, but I say that he voted for it and performance of such a task until the close of the upon anything else. Gentlemen will remember that the House sustained it. Congress, when we are within a few days of sep- the printing propositions created great warmth of Mr. HOUSTON. The gentleman understands arating. If the gentleman will take the trouble | feeling on all sides of the House--so much so that me and I do him. If his remark is worth anyto institute an examination, he will find that the the House would not pass from them to other thing, it will convey to the House and the counCommittee on Ways and Means, at the last session, things, even if it had been in order to make a try the idea, that there was only one hour's debate reported the appropriation bills within the usual motion for that purpose.
During all of the time allowed on this bill, when the fact is, the bill occutime, notwihtstanding the difficulties and delays to covered by special orders it was not in order to pied all day yesterday, except some business in the which I have already called the attention of this move the consideration of any other subject-it re- morning. The gentleman made a speech upon it, committee. The fortification bill was reported as quired unanimous consent to pass from them. The and had an opportunity to discuss its features and late as July or August. During this session the reports from the Committee on Printing in many re- provisions. Did he propose to ascertain the propublic printing has been more promptly executed, | spects are very similar in effect upon other business priety of appropriating the millions" of which and the Committee on Ways and Means have, to a special order. These were causes of delay at he speaks? Did he touch the question of these consequently, had better facilities for the investi- the first session of this Congress, which, under the millions at all? Did he propose to call the attention gation of the subjects which have been committed circumstances, could not well be avoided. Those and consideration of the House to any provision io their charge. Hence, not only the four bills special orders were made at a time when, I take it of the bill? He did not. Then why should he comrequired by the rules to be reported within the for granted, it was not the expectation of the House plain? I did not intend to dispute with the genfirst thirty days, but every one for which esti- that they would occupy so much of its time and ileman as to who offered the resolution closing mates had been submitted, were reported within | attention; but when made, they were fastened debate-I was not attempting to play upon words. that time.
upon us, and we could not relieve ourselves from I speak of the resolution offered by the gentleThe estimates for the Post Office appropriation the difficulty without obtaining a vote which, under man from Tennessee, (Mr. Jones) as a movebill, as well as those for the ocean mail steam ordinary circumstances, could not be obtained. ment of the House, and say that the gentleman is service, were not submitted to Congress until late The gentleman from Georgia in his remarks on mistaken in his understanding of the facts. It is in January, and within a few days after those yesterday drew a contrast between the condition a mistake to say that debate was stopped on this estimates were sent to the House of Representa- of things now and the condition of things twenty- bill in one hour. There were several hours altives, the Committee on Ways and Means re- five years ago. He said that we ought to have lowed; and if gentlemen have shown a disposition ported those bills. The question then presents
such statesmen here now as we had then, My to debate anything and everything excepi the bill, itself, if the bills were thus reported, why were
friend should remember that it is not every dis- then debate should be closed. But the gentleman they not acted upon? That brings up the whole trict which, in that particular, is equally blessed says I asked that the first reading should be disdifficulty--that is the matter of controversy which with his. When the people of a district do the pensed with. Does he not know that such is the has been occupying the attention of the House best they can, they should not be assailed either usual practice with appropriation bills? When for the last day or two. Early in March a special directly or through their representative for having did an appropriation bill come up in Committee of order was made, and, with the exception of a furnished members who do not happen to come the Whole that the first reading was not dispensed few days, special orders were continued, for a por- up to the high standard of statesmanship set by with by unanimous consent, and its second readtion of the day from that time until about the other gentlemen. I do not think, however, the ing proceeded with for amendments? close of the session. The homestead bill became gentleman's contrast is sustained by the record, Mr. STEPHENS. I dislike to interrupt the the special order of the day on the 21 of March, |, and if members of this committee will refer back gentleman, but I never knew the first reading disand it was continued until the 12th of May, at to the action of Congress, from a very early period pensed with. I recollect very well in the last Conwhich time it passed this House. I do not mean of the Government, they will find that at every gress that the honorable gentleman from South to say that the merits of the bill itself were dis- short session of Congress, the appropriation bills Carolina (Mr. Burt) held that it was out of order cussed every day, but that most of the time that became laws in the very last days of the session to make such a motion, and the whole bill was measure was ostensibly under consideration. in nineteen cases out of twenty-from 1795 up to read through in the House.
On the 24th of May, Congress made another | this time. So far, then, as the gentleman drew a Mr. HOUSTON, I will not speak of the last special order, appropriating the morning hour to contrast to the disadvantage of Congress at this Congress. I was not here. The gentleman from the reception of reports from committees, to the time, his comparison does not hold good, and is Georgia has certainly paid but little attention, in exclusion of all other business. Under that special not warranted by the history and facts of the case. Committee of the Whole, to the appropriation order the morning hour was mostly occupied for Mr. STEPHÉNS, of Georgia. Will the gentle- bills. I assure him that so far as I am concerned, the residue of the session, and not only the morn- man allow me one word ?
I have taken up no appropriation bill since I have ing hour was thus employed, but occasionally Mr. HOUSTON. Certainly.
been a member of the Committee on Ways and bills coming before the House under that order Mr. STEPHENS. I was not speaking yes- Means, in which we have not, by unanimous conwould occupy the whole day.
terday particularly of the appropriation bills. I sent, dispensed with the first reading. This, howThe question may be asked, why the homestead was speaking of the vast accumulation of busi- ever, is an unimportant matter, and I would not bill was so long under discussion, and especially ness upon the Speaker's table, which was block- have noticed it but for the fact that the gentleman when the merits of the proposition were seldom | ing up everything, and which we all understand. alluded to it as if it were a new thing under the sun, examined in the course of debate? If that ques- But the gentleman speaks particularly of the ap- and for the purpose of creating the impression that tion be asked of me, I will turn the inquirer over propriation bills. I'think he will find himself in I am asking the House to do an unusual thing in to the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. STEPHENS,] an error in regard to the statement he has made. the progress and dispatch of the public business. who (as he will remember) voted against and op- It has been usual for those bills to pass the last But the gentleman says that the appropriation posed closing that debate, and thereby prevented | day of the session, I grant that; but it has not bills have usually passed before this time. In that the House from having an early vote upon the bill been usual that they should be so long delayed in he is also mistaken. I may not know what he and proposed amendments. I thought at the time, this House. They have usually passed this means by “usually." I am at a loss to know and the gentleman himself seems to think now, House at an early stage of the session, gone to whether he intends to apply it to the last Congress, judging from the course of remark in which he the Senate, come back, and remained over for to the Congress before that, or to all preceding on yesterday indulged, that much the largest por- amendment. It is usual, and it is not improper, Congresses. I have not had an opportunity of tion of that discussion was irrelevant, and there- as the gentleman stated this morning, that they examining very carefully upon that point; but I fore useless for any legislative purpose. Upon the should pass the last days of the session, but they know that at this period of the last Congress, the occasion when an effort was made to close debate ought to have been discussed in this House before bills were not so far advanced as they are now, on that bill, so late as the 20th of April, the gen- and investigated. We are within a few days of the and at the Thirtieth Congress they were but little tleman voted against it-thereby aiding in a de- | adjournment, and the civil and diplomatic bill is to if any in advance of those bills at a correspondfeat of a proposition looking to the dispatch of | be forced upon us. A resolution was passed this ing period of this. It is true that some of the business. The gentleman interrupts me now, and morning to close debate in one hour upon a bill bills that are now unacted upon by the House, says it was a very good discussion, and that he appropriating millions of dollars. Two months were in that Congress disposed of earlier in the did not vote to stop it at last. Let that be so; 1 of the session gone, and there has been no inves- session than this; but some of the bills that have propose to show that he has generally been with tigation of the bill, which is not even read by sec- been acted upon by the House at this session those who have opposed efforts to close debate, tions at the Clerk's desk. The chairman of the were unacted upon at the same period of that Conand in that way has himself been instrumental in Committee on Ways and Means asked to take it gress. It is iherefore difficult to say what is the delay and obstruction of business. I am in | up without a first reading, and voted for a prop- usual in regard to the time at which the appropriafavor of free and full debates. Oike to hear prop- osition to close debate upon it in one hour. That tion bills pass the House. ositions connected with our duties here thoroughly | is his system of legislation, of which I complain. The gentleman says "everything is pell-mell;" investigated, but I have generally been for closing Mr. HOUSTON. The gentleman is mistaken that there is great confusion; that the Speaker fails the debate when it wandered from the issues legit- in his facts again. I did not propose to close de- to do his duty; there is a want of confidence in the imately arising from the proposition under consid- bate in one hour.
heads of committees; the organization of the House eration. My recollection is that the gentleman Mr. STEPHENS. I do not say the gentleman is defective; and he gives these things as the cause has usually pursued a different course. did. I say the House did.
of the obstruction of business in the House. Mr. Aside from the special orders to which I have Mr. JONES, of Tennessee. I proposed the Chairman, I would like any gentleman to tell me already referred, there were various questions con
resolution to close this debate. There were some how the Speaker, or any committee or member of nected with the public printing which came before two or three hours yesterday consumed upon this the House, could have cleared the Speaker's table?
Delay of Public Business—Mr. Houston, of Alabama.
320 CONG.....20 Sess.
Ho. OF REPS.
Was it possible? Is it possible now? If so, ceeding and the consequent delay of business, by bers to do the same thing? There are various point out the course. Could it have been done in attending every morning at the hour of meeting, other propositions to which other gentlemen obany other way than by the coöperation of a ma- and remaining at our posts until the period of ad- ject, and their objections being presented and jority of the members of this body? Sir, the re- journment. But I suppose the Speaker is to blame pressed, create delay. During the summer-1sponsibility is upon that majority who have cast because the gentleman from Georgia was not in ihink in the month of July-I made several atthe votes, and not upon the speaker, or upon any his seat yesterday morning? And the Speaker is tempts to report that bill, but met with objection particular committee or member. My friend from also to be unceremoniously arraigned and censured until the occasion on which I did report it, when Georgia understands this as well as any one else, because that gentleman did not stay here yester- || those who had objected were absent. and his failure to present it constitutes my main day afternoon to and us in passing the Post Office Mr. STEPHENS. My recoilection is that the objection to the course of remark in which he has appropriation bill. Or perhaps his absence is charge- gentleman presented that bill in the latter part of indulged. I think he has failed to present a full able to the heads of committees, or the organiza- | the month of July. statement of our condition, and the causes which tion of the House. I should like to know what Mr. HOUSTON. Well, I suppose the latter led to it. If he had felt it his duty to present more control the Speaker has over the outgoings and in i part of July is in the month of July, as well as fully the working of our rules, as well as the re- comings of gentlemen.
ihe early part. sponsibility of the Presiding Officer, the heads of Mr. Chairman, in my opinion another great Mr. STEPHENS. I do not wish to get into committees, and the members constituting the cause of the delay of business is what the gentle- a discussion with the chairman of the Committee
man from Mississippi (Mr. NABERS) very prop; l on Ways and Means as to his efficiency in dishave been content to let it pass without comment erly calls “ Buncumbe speeches," presidential charging his duties. That was not my object. or reply. I feel that he has not done that; hence harangues-party speeches--such debate as was Nor did I design especially to arraign hím or the I have to commit this trespass upon the time and had upon the homestead bill, (except a few of the head of any other committee before the House. But patience of the House.
speeches on that bill,) which the gentleman now the gentleman seems to be going into a defense of The gentleman said the chairmen of the com- says was a very proper one. It was eminently himself personally. Well, if he wishes to do that, mittees ought to have influence enough to get the proper, in the estimation of the gentleman, to con- I will say, that if the Committee on Ways and business before the House. Sir, the appropriation sume time upon that measure in debating whether Means intended to report a fortification bill last bills are all before the House, and were reported in General Scott was in the keeping of Seward, or session, it was their duty to have reported it long due time; no one questions that. My own duty, as the Democratic aspirants were true to their consti- before they did. When they brought forward the well as that of the committee over which I have the tutional duties!
measure, out of order, and at the heel of the ses. honor to preside, has been punctually discharged, I understand the gentleman as calling that a sion, I did avail myself of my right to defeat it in as well as I or the committee could perform it. proper discussion upon a bill proposing to give that way. The Committee on Wáys and Means have gone * land to the landless," as some of the friends of Mr. HOUSTON. Then the gentleman from through a vast deal of labor and investigation in the homestead bill speak of it. Suppose General Georgia will certainly not complain that other preparing its bills for the action of the House. The Scoit was under the influence of Seward, was that members avail themeelves of the same right that bills now upon the Speaker's table are not measures any reason why you should or should not give he exercised on that occasion, and object to clearwhich have proceeded from that committee. They the poor man a piece of land? And yet the gen- ing the Speaker's table, or doing any other legislaare not bills over which I or that committee have theman maintains that such was a proper and de. tion out of order, if by so doing they can defeat a control beyond that which may be exercised by | sirable debate, and that it ought not to have been bill to which they are opposed. other members; and the Speaker's table cannot be arrested. Sir, I have made no speech wander- Mr. STEPHENS. Of course I do not. cleared, unless a majority determine that it shall ing from the subject under consideration, further Mr. HOUSTON. That is one reason why be done, by proceeding in order. If a majority than may have resulted from my want of ability business is delayed, and such action on his part of the House think proper to go to that business, to confine myselt within the proper scope. I have does not seem to be consistent with his complaints they can do so each day after the morning hour; | made no presidential speeches during this Con of the tardiness of legislation. It is certainly not and if that majority decide to transact other busi- | gress. The House will sustain me in that asser
very proper in him io complain of the delay in ness, with them rests the responsibility, and it is
reporting a measure, while he, in the exercise of idle to attempt to charge it upon the Speaker, or
A MEMBER. How will you apply your pres. a right conferred upon him by the rules of the upon the committees, or individual members. ent speech to the subject under consideration ? House, interposed ol'stacles to prevent the bill
Mr. Chairman, there are other causes which Mr. HOUSTON. 'Sir, 1, together with other being reported at an earlier day. operate to obstruct and defeat legislation beside members, have been assailed as being responsible Mr. McLANAHAN. I have a word of perthose to which allusion has been made. It is not for the accumulation of bills on the Speaker's table, sonal explanation which I desire to make. Yesalways that even a majority of those who may be and I am endeavoring to show thai the charge is terday, during the debate in this committee, enterpresent are able to dispatch business. We very not well founded. I presume that under these cir- taining proper respect for myself, and I am sure frequently find ourselves without a quorum, and cumstances I will be excused for attempting to set with proper courtesy towards the gentleman from have to resort to calls of the House for the purpose the facts truly before the country. I am present- Georgia, (Mr. Stephens,) 1 rose for the purpose of securing the attendance of the number neces- | ing facts which, in my judgment, conclusively | of asking a question of him during the time he sary to transact business. And in this connection, || show that the Committee on Ways and Means was addressing the committee. In justice to my. I propose to call the attention of gentlemen to a have at least labored faithfully in the discharge of self I must state, that when I rose to ask that quesfact, which not only illustrates the view I am en- its duties. But the gentleman from Georgia says tion I had no intention of exciting any ill-feeling deavoring to present, but also furnishes a very that one reason the business has not been ad
upon the part of the gentleman from Georgia, strong commentary which may be useful to my vanced is, that there has been a want or influence nor can I believe he so understood me. I rose to friend from Georgia.
in the heads of committees. I believe that is the | ask a question which I supposed, considering the The gentleman from Georgia, on yesterday substance of his remarks. Well, sir, it may be tenor of the remarks he was making, he might read some of us a lecture for not discharging our true that they are wanting in influence; but I wish properly undertake to answer; but to my surprise duty, and afterwards, while
we were endeavoring to prove to him that he mistakes the House and the gentleman saw fit to make a personal allusion to transact business, he absented himself, so that mistakes himself. He will recollect that he object to myself, which I see reported in the Republic. when the committee rose, we found ourselves ined during the last session to my reporting from The only objection I have to that report is the the House without a quorum, and consequently the Committee on Ways and Means the fortifica- manner in which it stands before the country. The unable to pass the Post Office appropriation bill, in tion bill, and the objection rendered it impossible gentleman has just stated that he meant no disrepart for want of the attendance of that gentleman. for me to bring the bill before the House. I had spect to the heads of any of the committees of He lectures us, and then retires, leaving the House a conversation with him upon the subject at the this House, and I am happy to hear him make without a quorum, and rendering it unable to take time, and I suppose he will say now, what he That statement. But I will read that portion of a single step in legislation. Nor is this all. Upon frankly said then, that he made that objection be
the report to which I allude: reference to the Journal of yesterday, it will be cause he did not want that bill to pass. Am I
“Mr McLANALAN inquired how a chairman of a comfound that we were occupied for three quarters of right?
mittee could make a report unless under the rules. The an hour, probably longer, in the morning in call- Mr. STEPHENS: Yes, sir.
Committee on the Judiciary had not been called. ing the House, endeavoring to get a quorum.
Mr. HOUSTON. Then does not that furnish
“Mr. STEPHENS replied, that if the chairmen of commitWag the honorable gentleman from Georgia at an argument against his statement? He objected their reports.
tees had the confidence of the House, they could make his post? Where was he? Where was he in the because of his opposition to the bill, and not be- "Mr. McLANAHAN said it was to be regretted the heads evening? I was here, endeavoring to act upon the cause he had objection to me. His objection of committees could not command that confidence. Let measures before us; my friend was not; and al- was founded upon principle. He thought the
the gentleman point them out.
"Mr. STEPHENS replied, that perhaps he might begin at a though my efforts may be unavailing, and have country needed no more fortifications, and his op
point which would not be agreeable to the gentleman. He been too much so to secure the dispatch of busi- | position arising from principle, I hardly suppose further argued that the neglect of business was owing to the ness as I desired, yet I am generally here when he would have surrendered or relaxed it for any members, and not to the rules." the House is in session, ready to do what little I one. Another member objects, upon principle, to I remember then to have remarked to the gen. can; and if we could only secure the attendance of some other bill, and so on until you pass over the tleman from Georgia, after he uttered the first the gentleman from Georgia, with his ability and entire catalogue of members--all upon principle, sentence in the last paragraph, that I did not inhis disposition to expedite business; if he would and of course not to be yielded up until their | terpose any objection to a full and free expresfully act out what we have a right to infer from judgments are convinced of the utility and propri- sion of his opinions upon tl at subject. The gen. his remarks, I Aatter myself that we should be ety of the bill objected to. The purpose of the tleman from Georgia then said that he was replying able to clear the Speaker's table before the end of objection was to defeat the bill, and would not be to the gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. Venthe session, and accomplish for the good of the withdrawn until the opposition to the measure, in alle. I rose simply for the purpose of saying country much other necessary legislation. Let us the mind of the member objecting, should have the report in the Republic was not correct, and in future, then, have no occasion for a call of the ' been overcome. Now, if the gentleman will pur- | having made that statement, I have nothing further House. Let us obviate the necessity of such a pro- ! sue that course, why will he not allow other mem- to say on the subject.