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should not leave it to the Secretary of the believing, as I do, that it would arrest the taken; the six per cent. bonds are redeemable Treasury to fix the length of time for wbich progress of funding under the bill, I shall be to-day. these bonds should run, ten, twenty, thirty, or compelled to vote against it.
Mr. MORTON. Redeemable in gold only forty years.
I would rather bare, and it is But, sir, I rose mainly for the purpose of according to the Senator's theory. If he would more proper to have, the judgment of Congress making a statement in regard to the condition adopt the idea that the present bonds are pay: on thut subject. I am therefore in favor of the of our loans as bearing on this question. We able in legal-tender noles, I could understand first section of this bill. I believe we ought now have some two hundrell and twenty mil- bis proposition. But he now proposes to to pass it. I believe we ought to make the lions of five per cent. bonds which the Gove exchange for the present five-twenties, payable time specific. If I thought we could get the ernment will have the option of redeeming at in gold as he bolds, new bonds drawing less money on ten-year bonds, I should certainly the end of ten years from their date. We interest. vote for the amendment of the Senator from now within seven or eight years of the time Mr. FESSENDEN. It does not depend Maine ; but my judgment is very much against it. when the Government will have the right to upon what I hold or upon what the Senator
Mr. MORRILL, of Vermont. Mr. Presi. exercise that option. It occurs to me that from Indiana holds. It depends upon the indent, I have been heartily in favor of the prac- these $220,000,000 will be quite as much as pression of the community with regard to the tice of the Government in keeping control of we shall be likely to pay off by the expiration value and nature of the paper. I may hold its loans, which has been eulogized by the Sen- of ten years. In addition to that the bonds that these bonds are payable in gold. The ator from Maine; but I ask whether it can be of 1881, of which we have issued $291,000,000, Senator from Indiana may hold directly the expected that we are to continue this controll- are really due and payable in thirteen years
A large portion of the community ability and yet obtain our money at a lower from this time, which comes so close upon the does so 'hold. The Senator from Ohio, the rate of interest. Whenever we succeed in heels of the time fixed as the option by the chairman of the Committee on Finance, has obtaining a loan at a reduced rate of interest amendment of the Sepator from Maine that it intimated his opinion to that effect. Now, the it is to be expected that we shall relinquish this seems to me it is not advisable to adopt it. idea is that there is this doubt hanging over control. It was only in order to obtain at some We have something like five hundred millions || them, not that it is positive one way or the future time better terms that we made provision of our debt falling within our power within other. for this control; and if we continue the control from eight to thirteen years; so that there will Again, the five-twenty bonds, whether payin relation to the time when we are to pay these be a suflicient amount of our obligations for us able in gold or payable in greenbacks, are loans of course we must still pay a higher to take up in that time under any conceivable redeemable to-day if the Government had the rate of interest for that control.
circumstances. For this reason I do not con- means of redeeming them. The time has The Senator from Maine suggests that the sider the amendment of the Senator from arrived; the five years are out. Then there is parties who are to take this loan would very Maine so important as it would be if these cir: this difference: that they take a bond that the readily accept shorter bonds. I fear they would, cumstances did not exist. We shall have over Government has no power to redeem to-day at the rates fixed by this bill, and might make five hundred millions to take up, as I say, and can only redeem in ten years at the shortest it so short that they would hardly take it at nearly three hundred millions of which we period, but at the same time free from all the all. It is only in consequence of making a must pay in thirteen years, and we have an doubts which now hang over the existing fivelong loan that any inducement is held out to option upon $220,000,000 more within eight twenties. That is the idea. parties to take these new bonds. Now, the years; so that we shall have control of one Mr. EDMUNDS. Mr. President, the way question fairly arises whether in this country fourth of the whole amount of our public that I think doubts ought to be solved where a large loan can be obtained for a less rate than debt, by the terms of the bonds already out, they respect one of the parties to a contract is is proposed in this bill. After having given within a short period of time.
for the party to declare frankly and honestly soine attention to the subject I do not believe Mr. FESSENDEN. May not the 1881 bonds where he stands upon that doubtful question; it is possible. Look abroad, where money is be funded under this bill?
and if there is any real doubt or any supposed at the rate for private purposes ordinarily of Mr. CATTELL. I apprehend that there is doubt as to what our obligation is, now that not more than two and a half to four per cent. no probability that the holders of such bonds we are making new terms with our creditors, per annum, and yet the average rates paid by having thirteen years to run, without any ques- we ought to tell those creditors man-fasbion Governments are nearly five per cent. on na- tion as to the payment of the principal in coin- what we mean; we ought to tell them either tional loans. In our own country there is for that question has not been mooted at all that we acknowledge what they understood to scarcely any State in the Union where six per in regard to the 1881 bonds-will exchange be the fair construction and the real spirit of cent. is not paid by private parties. In some them for five per cent. That is the point of our obligation when they lent us the money, States, eight, ten, or even more. Is it to difficulty I have in regard to this bill.
and therefore say we mean to pay in coin or its be supposed that in this country, when very Mr. FESSENDEN. But I suggest to my equivalent; or that they were mistaken about it large sums, sums in the aggregate of thousands friend that every law on such a subject as this it they had any such idea and that we mean to of millions of dollars, can be obtained at less is prima facie intended to be a permanent pay them in a new promise to pay, what we rates than four, four and a half, and five per law. Suppose this law to be enacted and call a greenback, which does not bear any intercent.? I do not believe it. By this bill only stand upon the statute. book when you come est, which is overdue on the face of it, and $700,000,000 can be obtained at the rate of tive within a year or two of the time when the 1881 which we decline to pay until we get ready. per cent., and of course, if more bonds are bonds are positively payable, would it be a We ought to be frank. I cannot endure the negotiated, it must be either at four or four strange thing if the holders should desire to idea of a great Government like the United and a half per cent. In my judgment, that is convert them into these bonds? If so, they | States, that claims to be the home of liberty as low as we can, in the most prosperous times, would be taken out of my friend's calculation. and of all sorts of people who have escaped ever expect for many years to come, in a new Mr. CATTELL. Yes, sir; and my answer oppression and dishonesty everywhere else; country like ours of such vast extent, with so to my friend from Maine is, that the Congress the place where the American eagle is the many opportuvities for new enterprises, to bor. of the United States I apprehend would be greatest bird that floats, playing fast and loose row money:
We cannot hope that the rate of ready to say that no such bargain could be with its creditors when it is trying to make a interest will fall below that. There will be full made under this law.
new loan, shaking a doubt at thein instead of employment of all the capital of the country But, Mr. President, I only rose for the pur. telling them plainly one thing or the other on at better rates. Only on the ground that we pose of saying that really I concur in the argu- that point. I do not think it is greatly to the give better security than can be had elsewhere ment which the Senator from Maine adduces credit of the United States that we should is there any chance of the success of this loan. in favor of the Government holding the con- occupy such a position a great while. I am
I am in favor of this measure because I be. trollability of its loans, but that I believe, in happy to say that, as I understand it, the party lieve it is wise, so far as the first section is con- the language of the Senator from New York, 1 to which I belong has already got out of that cerned; I believe it is practical. I believe that in private conversation a moment ago, that position. if we pass it we can induce those who now hold this bill requires all the cork that is in it to But, sir, I rose for the purpose of saying a our bonds to exchange them for the new bonds float it; and I am under the impression that few words' in reply to the honorable Senator at a lower rate of interest; and at all events, if if you change its terms you will embarrass the from Obio on the question of how the fivethe parties who now hold bonds do not accept process of funding.
twenty bonds are payable. I am not going to our terms there will be found others who will. Mr. MORTON. Mr. President, in order to weary the Senate by going over the whole If we are successful we shall certainly reduce make this funding proposal successful there argument or much of the history, but in five the amount of interest that we are to pay, which must be some inducement for men to take the or ten minutes to come to the precise point on is far better, in my judgment, than to raise new bonds and give up the old ones. The which he contended that the tive-twenties of laxes. I hope, therefore, that no amendment Senator from Maine holds that the present | 1862, as they are ordinarily called, are not will be made to this part of the bill.
five-twenties are payable in gold. The new payable in coin, but are payable in currency, Mr. CATTELL. I said when I was last on bonds are to be payable in gold, and no more. and to say that I think I can show as I was the floor that I very much preferred the amend- What inducement can there be under bis prop. about to say, to convince my friend that he ment of the Senator from Maine to that of the osition to give up a six per cent. bond payable is laboring under an error. i understand bima Senator from Missouri. I confess tbat the i in gold in fifteen years and take a five per by his printed speech delivered on the 27th of argument of the Senator from Maine in favor cent. bond payable in ten years ? If you have || February, 1868, to admit that down to the of the Government holding control of its loans to present some inducement, to give some passage of the act of March 3, 1863, the true makes a decided impression on my mind ; and advantage to the new bond over the old bonds, construction of the act of February 25, 1802, I should be very glad to vote for the amend- what is it except the length of time you give which was called the five-twenty act, was that ment if I believed that fuuding would progress the new bond to run ?
the bonds issued under that were fuirly and under this bill with that amendment in it; but Mr. FESSENDEN. The Senator is mis- || truly payable in coin.
Mr. SHERMAN. No, sir. My friend will Mr. SHERMAN. How much after the 11th of 1862 in every other respect in force, furnishallow me to state my position. I said that the of July, 1862?
ing the sole and only authority that ever existed question would never have been raised under Mr. EDMUNDS. I am not able to state at to that time, or ever has existed since, for the the act of February 25, 1862. That law spe- this moment. Here is the form of a bond, the issue of a single dollar of these bonds. There-, cifically declared that the United States notes thing itself that the people saw and paid for fore the honorable Senator from Ohio is misshould be a legal tender in payment of all and took, issued prior to the 3d of March, 1863, taken in supposing that these bonds were not debts, public and private; but it also said that and during that period of time when, accord- | issued under the act of 1862. If they were the amount to be issued under that act should | ing to the construction that, as I understand not issued under the act of 1862 they were not exceed $150,000,000. I put the question the Senator himself in his speech of the 27th issued in violation of law, because the act of to him for his answer, if no law had ever been of February last, gave to the act of February 1863 does not profess to authorize them to be passed changing the act of February 25, 1862, 25, 1862, it was payable in coin.
issued at all; it professes to authorize the as to the limitation of the amount of green- The United States of America nre indebted unto
issue of another and different class and charbacks, has he any doubt that under that act --, or bearer, in the sum of $500, redeemablo | acter of bonds, called ten-forty bonds, and these $150,000,000 of greenbacks would have
at the pleasure of the United States aiter thc 30ch of refers to the act of 1862, as I have said, not to
April, 1867, and payable on the 1st day of May, 1882, been a legal tender for the principal of the with interest from the 1st day of May, 1862, inclusive,
affect the authority to issue or the nature of debt issued under that act? I have not any. at six per cent, per annum, payable on the 1st days the contract, or the character or redeemability Mr. EDMUNDS. When the Senator entered of May and November, in each year, ou presentation of the bonds, but merely speakivg to its own
of tho proper coupon hercupto annexed. upon this discussion on the 27th February last, This debt is authorized by the act of Congress
agent it informed him that he need not hold I endeavored by a colloquial debate to con:e approved February 25, 1862.
them up to a certain price as he had done to a precise understanding with him upon this
L. E. CHITTENDEN,
before, and that is all it contains.
Register of the Treasury. very point; but after one or two interruptions, WASHINGTON, May 1, 1862.
My friend says with an air of plausibility my friend from Ohio declined to be interrupted
With the seal of the Treasury I hold in my
that in the mean time, on the 11th of July, 1862, further, and went on with his speech, in which hand another of these bonds of 1862 issued
an act was passed which authorized the increase he said, referring to the position that I had
of the legal tenders adding another $150,000,taken in some previous observations: after March 3, 1863, which, according to the
000 and that therefore the public must have argument of my friend from Ohio is payable in "I anticipate the argument and wish again to refer
been supposed to know that what was before currency, and not in coin, as the first one is to the act of February 25, 1862. This act further pro
the real and true construction of the act of vides that the amount of legal tenders shall be lim
according to his own confession, as I underited to $150,000,000. It also provides that the holders stand his speech:
February 25, 1862, had been changed by that. of these legal tenders may at any time convert them
How did it change it? It did not profess to
The United States of America are indebted unto into five-twenty bonds, the very bonds we are now discussing; and the second section goes on and pro
; or bearer, in the sum of $500, redeemablo
change it; it only said that so many legal vides for the issue of those bonds. If those bonds
at the pleasure of the United States after the 30th of tenders shall be issued, and being issued the bad been issued and negotiated solely under the act
April, 1867, and payable on the 1st day of May, 1882, act of February 25, 1862, operated upon them, of February 25, 1862, it would have been irresist
with interest from the lst day of May, 1862, inclusive, ible logic that it was not contemplated that the at six per cent. per annum, payable on the 1st days
also, as making them convertible into the same $500.000.000 authorized by this act should be paid with of May and November, in each year, on the presenta
kind of bonds that had been authorized to be $150,000,000 legal tenders, themselves convertible
tion of the proper coupon hereuuto annexed. issued before ; and how if it did were the pubinto bonds. But here is the weakness of the argu
This debt is authorized by the act of Congress approved February 25, 1862.
lic to know that? They were referred when ment, in my opinion, of my friend from Vermont; no bonds were issued under that act."
WASHINGTON, May 1, 1862.
these bonds were issued, to the act of February
25, 1862. The regulations and the law require Now, Mr. President, so far I am capable of
And signed and sealed as before it would be
that each bond shall show under what authorunderstanding the force of language, the plain
a little difficult for the common people, the mean ing of wbat the honorable Senator said
ity it is issued. The people were referred on widows, the farmers, the mechanics, even the
looking at the bond to the act on which the I believe I have read enough to show that that | bankers, or the lawyers who are supposed to was lais point under that act—was that under understand statutes in the course of business, and no other act. Looking, then, from the
bond was based, the act of February 25, 1862, the act of February 25, 1862, standing by itself
to understand when these papers were being || bond which directed them where to find the and until subsequent legislation had altered it, put out in this form that one of them was issued | authority of law to show the true nature and the logic was irresistible that these bonds were
under the act of 1862, and was payable in coin, | authority of the contract, it was the act of not payable in the very notes that by the terms and that the other was issued in some other
February 25, 1862. The act declared the form of the act itself were to be converted into the way, and was not so payable, when both of
in which these bonds should be issued and bonds. If therefore they were not payable in
them bore on their face precisely the same these notes, but were payable in dollars, as on terms, payable in precisely the same way, and
when they should be payable, and it declared
that all the gold and silver received from custhe face of them they said they were, I take it were, as I will now show, issued solely under
toms should be set aside as a sacred fund to the argument becomes irresistible that by force
the act of 1862 and no other act. of that act the legislation as it then stood they My friend still maintains that the act of pay them and that the legal tenders that the
law bad provided for should be convertible were payable in coin. Now, how does my friend March 3, 1863, operated to repeal the act of escape that? He escapes from it by the asser: 1862, authorizing the issue of these bonds, | legal tenders.
into them instead of their being payable in tion of a matter of fact that no bonds were and provided a new authority for issue, a
Looking to that act, my friend from Ohio, issued under that act. Now, let us see how
new regulation for the mode of issue. If that that fact is. Being somewhat surprised at that were true, and these bonds were really issued
as I understand him from this speech-it is statement of my honorable friend, because under the act of the 3d of March, 1863, as the
not capable of any other construction---looking having been one of the people when these act that authorized their issue, then the bonds
to that act, I understand from this speech bonds were negotiated, and seen them issued should have said so on their face, and the peo
which is in print before me that the holders
of these bonds would have been justified by from day to day, and having had something to
ple having them would have been referred to do with inducing the people in my part of the the law, and would have been bound to take
an irresistible logic in supposing that they
were to receive their pay in money. That is country to take them, I always noticed that the law at their own risk as to what the form
all I have to say. when the bonds came to the bank or express and legal effect of the promise was. But what
Mr. SHERMAN. I only want to make one oflice, and were taken out and circulated, they
did the act of 1863 say touching these bonds ? said on the face of them that they were issued That act was to authorize the Secretary of the
or two remarks in reply to the Senator from
Vermont, because as the question he has under the act of February 25, 1862, and the Treasury to issue certain ten-forty bonds, as
debated is not involved in this bill I think it people believed it, and I believed it. Believ- they are called, and certain Treasury notes, ing so I was somewhat astonished at the state- and the last part of the third section provided ought not to be discussed now.
Mr. EDMUNDS. Pardon me, my friend ment of my friend and I addressed an inquiry as follows:
opened the discussion himself on this bill by to the Secretary of the Treasury on the sub.
"And so much of the act 'to authorize the issue of United States notes and for other purposes,' ap
reiterating his opinions on these points. ject, as to when these respective bonds were
proved February 25, 1862, and of the act to author- Mr. SÉERMAN. I still reiterate those issued, and I received this reply:
izo an additional issue of United States notes and for | opinions; and all I have to say in reply to the TREASURY DEPARTMENT, March 16, 1868.
other purposes,' approved July 11, 1862, as restricts
honorable Senator is that not single bond SIR: I have the honor to incloso herewith, in repealed. And the holders of the United States notes was issued under the act of the 25th of Febcompliance with your request, the information de- issued under and by virtue of said acts, shall present ruary, 1862, until that act was changed in sired in regard to the amount of subscriptions at the the same for the purpose of exchanging the same for periods designated to the loan of February 25, 1862. bonds, as therein provided, on or beforo the lst day
material and important provisions. I know Also, canceled copy of $500 coupon bond of first of July, 1863, and thereafter the right so to exchange that fact, and now call upon the Senator to series of said issuo. The bonds of subsequent issues the same shall cease and determine."
answer ine whether a single bond was issued were precisely similar to the one inclosed except in the number of coupons attached.
All that the act of 1863 professed to do, | under the act of February 25, 1862, until after Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
giving it the broadest scope, was, as to the the passage of the act of July 11, 1862, whether H. McCULLOCH. Secretary.
issue of these bonds, as to the authority of the he knows of any? Hon. G. F. EDMUNDS, United States Senate.
Secretary of the Treasury to put them forth to Mr. EDMUNDS. I do not know whether
the country to anybody that would take them, || it was so or not, because on looking at the Subscriptions to the loan of February 25, 1862. simply to repeal the limitation which had been Senator's speech, and endeavoring to get the Previous to March 3, 1863.......
before imposed on him that he should sell information which would apply to his speech, Between March 3, 1863, and June 30, 1864, 484,505,350 them at market value. The previous act had I understood him to refer to the act of March Between June 30, 1801, and April 12, 1806, 4,000,1,00 imposed on him a certain restriction as to the 3, 1863, as an act which repealed some part of Total
$514,780,500 price he was to get for tbe paper. The act of the act of February 25, 1862; but it seems, on
1863 repealed that restriction, and left the act ll looking at it, that the act of 1863, as well as
the act of the 11th of July, 1862, merely pro- money the principal shall be paid. This șilence as "a legal tenderin payment of all claims and vided for an increase of legal tenders, making is very siguificant.
demands against the United States of whatsothem convertible into bonds as before.
But it is said by the Senator from Massachu- ever kind, except interest on notes and bonds,'' Mr. SHERJIAN. I repeat, and no one who setts and the Senator from Vermont that the and this joint resolution was unconnected with has gone through the history can contradict | Government is as much bound to pay the princi- any provision for the issue of bouds. me, ihat no single bond was issued under the pal of tbe five-twenties in coin as if it was so And again in February, 1863, an act was act of February 25, 1862, until after that act
expressed in the several acts authorizing and passed authorizing the issue of another $150,was changed in material respects. It is true creating those bonds, and that there is no 000,000 of legal-tender notes, including the all these bonds, in one
sense, were issued
difference between the legal obligation of the $100,000,000 authorized by the joint resoluunder the act of February 25, 1802, as it was Government in regard to the five-twenties and ltion just referred to, in which it is declared in umended from time to time, and those amend. in regard to the ten-forties. Let me say to the language somewhat different from the other ments were adopted before a single bond was Senator from Vermont and the Senator from acts, but in substance the same, that "these issued. The most material amendment was Massachusetts that if they desire to ascertain
notés so issued shall be lawful money and a the act of July 11, 1862. By the act of Feb. the qualities and capacities of the legal tender | legal tender in payment of all debts, public ruary 25, 1862, $150,000,000 was the limit of
notes, what debts they will pay, and what debts and private, within the United States, except legal tenders, and those legal tenders could
they will not pay, they must look to the laws for duties on imports and interest on the pubbe used to pay the principal of the public creating the legal-tender notes and not to the lic debt.” debt.
statutes authorizing the five-twenty bonds. Here are four plain, unequivocal, and em. The Senator from Vermont cannot question The act of February 25, 1862, by its second phatic declarations of the law, declaring that that. Any bond issued under the act of Feb- section authorized the first issue of five-twenty these notes shall be a legal tender in payment ruary 25, 1862, could be used as a legal tender bonds, and by its first section the first issue of every conceivable species of indebtedness to pay the principal of the public debt,
of legal-tender notes; and in said first section against the United States. And wberber the because the act of February 25, 1862, said in declares such notes herein authorized shall be fact be agreeable or disagreeable it is one that so many words that the notes issued under this received in payment of all taxes, internal du- cannot be overcome by argument or ingenuity. act shall be a legal tender in payment of all ties, excises, debts, and demands of every But it is argued that Secretary Chase, and debts, public and private. What language could kind due the United States, except duties | perhaps one or two Assistant Secretaries or be clearer? Therefore if the legal tenders on imports, and all claims and demands chief clerks of the Treasury, gave it out in let. were issued under the act of February 25, 1862, against the United States of any kind what- ters and speeches that these bonds would be and the bonds issued under that act, one was
soever, except for interest upon bonds and paid in coin and that the bonds were sold upon convertible into the other, the bonds into the notes, which shall be paid in coin, and shall such an understanding. It is to be noticed greenbacks and greenbacks into bonds. No also be lawful money and a legal tender in that in giving these opinions by the Secretary language could be plainer than was used to
payment of all debts, public and private, and the Assistant Secretaries or chief clerks, effect that purpose ; but this right of conver- wiihin the United States, except duties on im.
that it was predicated entirely upon the pracsion was taken away by the act of March 3, ports and interest as aforesaid.
tice of the Government heretofore, and not 1863, and the limit on the amount of green- The declaration is that such notes shall be upon any construction of the law authorizing backs was changed. This did not affect the receivable in payment of all claims and de- the issue of the bonds or creating the legallegal obligation or the legal right to use green: mands against the United States of every kind | tender notes. In none of these opinions is backs in payment of the principal of the bonds; whatsoever, except for interest upon bonds and there any reference made to these statutes, and but I will not argue the question; I will let it notes, which shall be paid in coin." More | what was said seemed to bave been said in stand upon what I have said.
comprehensive language could not be em- ignorance or indifference toward them, for 10 Mr. MORTON. Mr. President, the ques. ployed, and you cannot conceive of any debt reference was made to them, and the opinions tion as to whether the five-twenties are payable against the United States left out of this were predicated entirely upon what had been only in coin or may be paid in legal-tender phrase save that which is specially excepted. the practice of the Government heretofore. notes has been brought prominently into this It comprehends all claims and demands of These several acts creating the legal tender debate. The chairman of the Committee on
whatsoever kind. A bond is a claim ; a bond were public laws, of which every man in the Finance, who has had much to do with the is a demand. The very exception proves that country was bound to take notice at his peril. financial affairs of this country for six or seven
bonds were comprehended in the phrase, for i Every man in the country purchasing a bond years past, insists that the Government has a
if they were not there was no necessity for is presumed to know the character of the law right to pay the five-twenties in existing legal
excepting the interest upon them. But the creating the bond or the existence of any other tender notes. I say “existing" as contradis. stutute does not stop here. It goes on to say
law affecting the bond either as to time, inantinguished from notes yet to be issued. The tautologically that such notes shall also be ner, or mode of its payment. distinguished Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. lawful money and a legal tender in payment
In matters of such immense magnitude the SUNNER] on Saturday, in a very elaborate of all debts, public and private, within the
nation can only be bound by the law. Its speech argued at length that the Government United States, except duties on imports and rights must be defined by the law, and by the law was compelled by law to pay these bonds in interest as aforesaid." Every debt which the only. I cannot be bound by the opinion of coin. An argument of great ability and length United States owes is a public debt; it bas public officers given either in ignorance or in was made to the same effect by the Senator
no private debts, and a five-twenty bond is a violation of the law. from Vermont early in the session. This ques. | public debt in the fullest sense of those words
The Government of the United States, which tion is not important beyond the time that the for which the law declares such notes shall be has the power to borrow money and create & Government shall resume specie payments. lawsul money and a legal tender. Was ever a new loan, has put the terms of that loan into Whenever we make the legal-tender note as statute more comprehensive, unequivocal, or
the law, and they cannot be varied by the good as gold then this question is settled. plainly written? if the effect of this language | opinion or the action of any public officer. But it is an important question, and may be an can be varied or destroyed by argument then
It would be a monstrous doctrine that the important and troublesome question until that
no statute can be drawn which can withstand rights of the nation and of future generations, time occurs. I, for one, believe that the true the lawyers' ingenuity. But there are three
in matters of such immense importance, could policy for the Government is to take steps obler statutes to the same effect with the one be varied or changed by the illegal or unwarfirst and foremost to bring about the resump- I have just considered.
ranted declaration of a public officer who has tion of specie payments. I believe that that The act of the 11th of July following pro
no power to say or do anything, except that lies at the foundation of our financial troubles, vided for the issue of another $150,000,000 of
which is conferred upon him by law. Norcan and there is where we should begin.
legal-tender notes, and declared like the former ) it be said that the good faith of the nation can I will remark that this question is entirely that they should be legal tender in payment of be affected by its refusal to comply with the distinct from the question of the right of the
all claims and demands of whatsoever kind representations of a public officer, when those Government to make a new issue of legal
representations are made in direct conflict with tender notes and pay off the five-twenties in against the United States except interest on that new issue. As I shall speak of the quesnotes and bonds, and further declared that
a public statute of which he and everybody these notes
else is bound to take notice. Even in matters tion, I shall speak of the right of the Government to redeem the five.twenties in existing | payment of all debts, public and private, in the Uni
"Shall also be lawful money and a legal tender in
of private right and of the smallest importance
inen are presumed to know the law, and their legal-tender notes.
ted States, except duties on imports and interest as rights are determined accordingly, and no man Mr. President, I believe that the law-and it aforesaid."
is bound by the act of his agent when that is to the law that we must look in regard to There are but two exceptions stated in the agent is acting outside of the authority or the this questiou alter all-is with the Senator from law, but it is sought by argument to establish | presumed authority conferred opon bim. Every Ohio on this question. When it is asserted a third, compared with which the two stated in man buying a bond of the Government must that the Government is bound to redeem the the law are mere trifles.
know that the liability of the Government tive-twenties in coin I say it is not only without This statute is unconnected with any provis. | could not be fixed or changed by a declaration the law, but it is in express violation of at least | ion for the issue of bonds, and was passed of the Secretary of the Treasury, but that ile four statutes. The law authorizing the ten- before any bonds were sold, authorized by the liability of the Government must be determined forties declares that principal and interest shall preceding act of February.
absolutely and ouly by the law creating the be paid in coin. The several laws creating the Again, in January, 1863, Congress passed a bond or making regulations for its payment. five twenties declare that the interest shall be joint resolution authorizing the issue of another The good faith of the nation in a matter of paid in coin, but are silent as to the principal || $100,000,000 of legal-tender notes, in which it this kind can only be measured by the promise of the debt, and do not say in what kind of was again declared that they should be received I given by the law-making power, which promise
must be in the form of a law. The Constitu- done for par. If you sell these new bonds any funding bill until such time as we have tion declares that Congress shat have power you must sell them for par. Then you cannot returned to specie payments. I believe we to borrow money,
from which it must be inferred buy up the five-twenty bonds in the market. could return to them in a very short time by that Congress and Congress only can prescribe You cannot buy them unless you buy them for | legislation in that direction. With a surplus the terms, limits, and conditions of the loan. par, because you make the proceeds of these of over eighty million dollars of gold in the The attempt therefore to erect a standard of bonds take up and cancel an equal amount of Treasury, and with an accruing surplus from good faith for the nation not only outside of the outstanding bonds. We will suppose that month to month, if we were simply to say that ibe law, but in violation of its express pro- the Secretary of the Treasury has sold $100,- the gold we now thus hold and the gold we visions does the nation great injustice by con- 000,000 of these five per cent. bonds at par. shall receive in surplus shall be applied to the tributing to place it in a false position before He has got $100,000,000 of greenbacks in the redemption of these legal-tender notes it would the people of other countries.
Treasury of the United States. How is he send the premium on gold down one half at That is all I have to say on that question. going to apply that to the extinguishment of the very beginning. The very existence of that If you prove that the Government is bound to an equal amount of the outstanding debt? The gold standing in the shadow behind these legalpay these bonds in coin, you do it in the face holders of the five-twenty bonds will not sell tender poles, although the Government has of four direct and plain statutes as unequivocal them to the Government on the market at par, declared no purpose in holding that gold, has as any statutes that ever were written.
because they are commanding a large pre- given strength and value to these notes, simply There is the statute, plain, direct, even tauto- mium. He cannot exchange bond for bond from the impression upon the part of the peological upon this subject, declaring in not less because the bonds to be exchanged for com- ple of the United States that some time or other than six or seven places that these notes shall mand a premium, whereas the new bond can that gold will be applied to the redemption of be received in payment, and as a legal tender, only be sold at par; there is no premium on these notes. I believe that the accumulation in discharge of every claim and demand of that. He cannot obtain the five-twenties by of surplus gold in the Treasury with what we whatsoever kind against the United States exchange; he cannot obtain them by pur- now have, even for a year or a year and a half, except interest upon notes and upon bonds, chase, because the law would require him to would be sufficient to enable us to begin the and then going on to say, as
I remarked purchase the old bonds at par, and they are at work of redemption and place the legal.tender before, tautologically, that those notes shall be a premiumn. Therefore, be cannot use the pro- notes at par, and then all these troublesome received as lawful money and as legal tender ceeds of the new bonds unless he avails himself | questions will disappear; but, sir, until that is in payment of all debts, public or private, in of the right of the Government to redeem the done, they will remain to plague us. the United States except the interest on notes old bonds in these legal-tender notes.
Mr. FESSENDEN. I did not design say. and bonds as aforesaid. And yet in the face Mr. SHERMAN. The Senator is a little | ing anything on the particular matter which of language so plain, language that cannot be mistaken in regard to the legal effect. The the Senator from Indiana has been arguing, for misunderstood, it is argued from day to day in plain meaning is that he shall only sell the I think his speech is altogether out of place. this Senate that the Government is bound to bonds as he can redeem an equal amount. He We are discussing a particular point of conpay the five-twenties in coin.
would not sell these bonds at a less price than struction upon the first section, and the bringNow, Mr. President, this question is import- the market value of the five-twenties; but he || ing in here a discussion upon the question ant or unimportant as Congress shall make it can do that or make the exchange.
whether these bonds are in reality payable one SO. When we return to specie payments it is Mr. MORTON. I presume the chairman of way or the other strikes me to be a mereunimportant; as long as we fail to return to the committee is entirely right upon that point; Mr. MORTON. I should like to say to the specie payments it is important. As I took but the practical difficulty is that the Secretary | Senator that his censure is somewhat misoccasion to say some weeks ago in the Senate, cannot sell them for more than par; that will placed. I did not bring that question here. the first duty of Congress and the first great not be pretended, and he cannot buy the exist- It was brought here on Saturday by the chair. thing to do, in my opinion, is to take some ing five-twenty bonds at par. So there can be man of the committee and by the Senator from direct step toward the return to specie pay. nothing done in the way of buying them on the Massachusetts, and to-day discussed just before meuts.
market. Then there can be nothing done in by the Senator from Vermont and the Senator I will say further, that it is in the exist. the way of exchange, because the old bonds from Ohio. If there is anything wrong in ing legal-tender notes that the Government command a premium, while the new ones do bringing the question bere I am not responsihas a right to pay those five-twenty bonds. not. Therefore the holders of the old bonds ble; but I find it here, and I will say to the There was a limit of $400,000,000 fixed by law would lose by the exchange. Then there can Senator that he cannot keep it out. to the issue of those notes. I believe that to be nothing done with these bonds, unless he Mr. FESSENDEN. Oh, I shall not attempt pass that limit would be a violation of public avails himself of the lawful right of the Gov- it, Mr. President. I shall not attempt to keep faith ; but that the Government has the right ernment to take in these five-twenty bonds by || anything out here on any question. I have to pay the five-twenty bonds out of the exist- paying them off in legal-tender notes. I have seen for years that that is useless. Senators ing legal-tender notes is as clear, in my opin- often heard it said that unless you issue more will discuss every conceivable question under ion, as any right that is defined by any statute greenbacks, you cannot redeem the five-twen- the sun upon a bill whether it has anything to of the United States.
lies in greenbaeks. I bave shown that that is do with it, or not, and the time has gone by Mr. WILSON. I should like to ask the a mistake; that by selling the new bonds at when I ever attemped to interfere with anySenator what practical importance there is in par, to be paid for in the existing legal-tender | thing of that sort. maintaining that doctrine if we have got no notes, those notes, when thus received, can be But I rose simply to say that so far as the greenbacks to pay the bonds with ? I lake it applied in redeeming and absolutely paying off remark I made had any application it was there is not anybody here who supposes, if we rtion of the existing five-twenty bonds. merely repeating a remark made by the chair. are limited to the present amount of green. I am in favor myself of passing the first sec- man of the committee. I said that if it was backs, that we have got any greenbacks to tion of this bill. I am in favor of making this true that this bill relieved the question of a redeem the bonds with. Therefore the ques- offer. I am in favor of trying to give an addi- doubt that of itself was an inducement to the tion is not a practical one in any sense of the tioual value to these bonds by the length of change from one species of obligation to word, it seems to me.
time that has been fixed in the bill for them to another; and I think it is an inducement, beMr. MORTON. I think I can answer that That is the only advantage they will cause it cannot be disputed that the question qnestion. The Senator has kirdly called my have over the old bond.
has been made a question of doubt; and that attention to a point that I had forgotten for One word in regard to the amendment of the is all I said about it. the moment, and that right in connection with Senator from Maine, which is to make these But, sir, I wish to repeat what I said be. this funding bill. Four hundred million dol- bonds all redeemable at the pleasure of the fore: if there are not inducements enough to lars of currency is enough in which to invest all Government after ten years. He takes away affect the judgments of the community with the bonds authorized by this bill. It is not done the inducement to buy ihese bonds. He says, reference to taking the new obligations without
The Government sells $50,000,000 however, that these bonds can be made avail. extending the time of redemption from ten of these new bonds to-day, and receives pay able by the existence of a doubt in the public years to twenty, in my judgment it had better in existing legal-tender notes. Those not s mind as to how they shall be paid, whether remain as it is, and we had better pay six per are paid out to-morrow in the redemption of they shall be paid in gold or in greenbacks. I cent. for a little time longer than to burden an equal number of existing five-twenty bonds; should like to ask that distinguished Senator ourselves with any such obligation as tbat. and so the process goes on. The Government if it is very broad statesmausbip to hang a great That is my opinion about it, which I gave very can redeem the five-twenty bonds in the exist. measure of this kind simply upon a doubt distinctly. Why, sir, what is the object? This ing legal-tender notes without issuing a new existing in the public mind? I very much is called a funding bill. Is not our debt all note, simply by selling the new bonds for legal- prefer making a frank statement of this ques- funded now, pretty much? Certainly it is. It is tender notes, and applying those legal-tender tion to the whole country. As the law is writ- merely to change the bonds, and the ostensinotes in the redemption of the existing five- ten, so it must remain ; you cannot help it; ble object is to hold out some inducement to twenty bonds.
you cannot rub it out; you cannot argue the take other paper at a lower rate of interest. That comes right down to this funding bill. seal off the bond ; the distinguished Sena- Undoubtedly if taken it would save so much ; This bill provides that the proceeds of the sale tors to whom I have referred, with all their but then do not all men inquire, what are we of these bonds" shall be exclusively used for ability and ingenuity, cannot take a single word to gain? Are we in reality to be the gainers ? the redemption, payment, or purchase of, or from these four statutes.
Certainly not, if in the process of time, say ten exchange for, an equal amount"'--that is a I am in favor of tendering this funding bill to years hence, it so happens that we shall be able very important phrase right there" of the the country. I hope it will be accepted; I to redeem a large amount of our paper, as I present interest-bearing debt of the United hope it may be received; but, sir, to make a think we shall be by borrowing at a lower rate States." If you exchange them, it must be candid confession, I have very little faith in ll owing to the jinproved state of our credit, and
by pursuing the course now proposed, we then describe it, how it is made, of what metal it is asserted that he was unwilling to pay every find ourselves in a condition where we shall made, and how much it weighs in silver, and copper which the State had contracted in the have to pay from twelve to twenty per cent. also describes the same measure of value when time of her need, that did not siuk into politpremium in order to get it. What do we gain made of gold.
ical obscurity; and so it will always be. by that? Nothing at all; we are the losers in the Sir, we all know that the use of the green: But this is the practical question. What good long run. Sir, it has nothing but the appear- back as a legal tender, as money, was expected can come from agitating this subject now? ance of benefit about it, and that appearance to be temporary. It was one of those shifts to Why not better postpone the whole matter is, in my judgment, delusive, and nothing com- which we were driven by the pressure of the until after the election is over, and tben we pared to what we shall lose by putting our
No member of the Senate, no member shall come here with new lights, with all the selves in a position where we cannot lay our of the other House, as I understand it, sup- questions cleared off from the public mind bands upon the funds within a long period of posed at that time that the bonds which we except that of reconstruction; and when we time it we desire to do so. I leave that there, were issuing, and upon which we were acquir- || bave reconstructed the country, as was said because I do not like to repeat arguments that ing loans of money, were redeemable merely wisely and ably by the Senator from MassaI have used; but I wish to be specifically un. in the depreciated paper currency of the Gov. chusetts [Mr. Sunxer] the other day, the rederstood.
ernment. I hold the Government of the Uni- suinption of specie payments will be easy. You Now, sir, the honorable Senator from Indi- ted States to be bound by the terms of its own must first reconstructihe country and have peace ana argues this matter of the real character of
contract, and by every sentiment of honor and throughout our borders before you can attempt the five-twenty bond upon the contract, upon justice, whatever may be the doubts that may to talk about specie payments. When specie the laws passed, as if there is no dispute about be raised upon the language of the statutes, to payments have arrived, as they will in a short it. He states it strongly. He says in so many redeem every bond issued by it in gold or sil. time, nobody will talk about repudiation; nowords that there can be no doubt about it.
yer coin, according to the terms of the bond body will moot the question whether these That, I suppose, he only intends as another itself. Sir, I think when we consent that those bonds shall be paid in gold or greenbacks. mode of saying there can be no doubt about it bonds may be taken up, or shall be taken up Greenbacks were an expedient of the war, and in his mind, because my honorable friend does || in the depreciated currency of the Govern- they answered a good purpose then. They not mean to say that the numbers of gentlemen | ment, when we refuse, in other words, to pay saved the country. They enabled us to feed who have expressed an opposite opinion are over to the honest bondbolder the specie called and clothe our armies. But they have done arguing what is nonsense and folly. Now, sir, for in bis bond, or its equivalent, we contract their work, and now they will go out of use I prepared a while ago, in the only way I ever a stain upon ourselves and upon the Govern- | directly, do prepare, a speech upon this very question; | ment, whose servants we are, which will take I wish I could speak more at length on this and that is by studying the statutes and making a long time to wipe out. The good faith of a subject to-day, for it is one which is inost intersome memoranda ; and I thought at some pe- Government is as precious as the apple of the esting to me, as it is of interest to every man riod of time I would deliver that speech and eye. When once that good faith is even sus- who loves his country and who has a feeling express my opinions in detail and give my pected, its credit falls and sinks, and the char- of personal honor; but I am not well enough reasons for them ; but my judgment is, that we acter of its people, as well as the character of to do so, and I shall content myself, if the bill have got to a period of the session when long the Government, is injuriously affected. Even is to pass, by offering some amendments which speeches on questions that are not immedi- || if there were a stipulation in those bonds that || I think will make it more acceptable to the ately pending are a little out of place, and that they should be payable in greenbacks, now that country and better for the interests of the Gov. we had better devote ourselves to short discus. || the country is reaching a period of peace and ernment. My opinion is that this is a scheme sions of the questions at issue. But for fear || prosperity, I should hold it to be the duty of gotten up by the Treasury Department for its that there should be any misunderstanding || the Government, notwithstanding such a stip
I think there is something hidden in about it, I will say in a few words—in hardly | ulation, to see to it that the honest bondholder | it, something not seen, or else it would not be more than a sentence-that I came to an ex- was paid in coin. Sir, I dislike all such shifts so persistently pushed upon us. I remember actly opposite conclusion. I have no doubt as those. Let us meet our obligations like that some time ago, perhaps in February, it that we are bound by every principle of honor, men, like patriots, and like a Government true was understood that after a certain section of as expressed upon the paper and as connected to its own interests and entertaining a proper the bill was disagreed to the whole bill was to with the contemporaneous exposition of the respect for the great peop
whom we repre.
fail. I think I remember particularly that we thing itself, to pay the principal of every bond sent.
were told that the bill would not be urged after we have issued in coin. That is my judgment, Mr. CAMERON. Mr. President, I have that date, after the vote against a particular and I do not think I shall change it; and so felt very sorry from the beginning that this section. I am positive of that. But if the positive am I that that was the understanding question was brought before the Senate and bill is to be pressed, I shall try to inake some of everybody in the community that even if before the country. I believe as early as Feb- || amendments to it. there was a narrow chance of escape by a tech- ruary last the Finance Committee brought in Mr. COLE. Mr. President, I am very much nical construction of the paper itself I should a bill on this subject which did not meet the pleased with some of the remarks that the deem myself dishonored, as a member of this approbation of the Senate, and it was with. Senator from Pennsylvania has made; those body, if I should take the first step in any direc- drawn Subsequently, in March, the bill in an of his remarks which go to the extent that this tion that would look like paying or attempt. || amended form was brought in; but that has discussion is out of place. But I am unwilling ing to pay our obligations of that description | been withdrawn. And now, ten or fifteen days to let the declarations that have been made by in paper. So that I am equally positive with before the close of the session, we have the Senator from Maine and the Senator from my honorable friend on that subject.
brought before us again question which can. Michigan go to the country without expressing Mr. MORTON. That is some relief to me. not fail to do great harm. It seems to me as my views, which are not in harmony with Mr. FESSENDEN. But I do say that gen- if this was done purposely to agitate the coun.
theirs. tlemen may make an argument on the other try improperly and injuriously to the Repub- There are two classes of indebtedness in this side, and although it does not address itself to
What good can arise from the-ll country. Some of our obligations are payable my mind, it will undoubtedly to the minds of discussion of this measure? Surely nothing || in gold; others are not so specified, and are the community. My judgment, however, is, good can come from it, but harm must result, payable in the lawful money; and I do not situated as we are at present, with the majority because not one of our debts is now due, or know how those Senators discriminate between of the Senate subscribers to a platform which will be for years. It would have been wiser to a portion of the obligations which do not call sets forth the poblest, most generous, manly, postpone tliis subject until the next presiden- | for gold payments and allege that they are pay. and statesmanlike principles with regard to the tial election had passed over, and the country able in gold and another class of indebtedness whole thing, that we had better adhere to it should be in a condition to view it with that of the same description, and recognize the right and not even raise or intimate a doubt upon calmness with which it should always consider to pay the latter class in greenbacks. We are what the country will do when it becoines great financial questions.
incurring liabilities every day. This is a very necessary that it should do anything.
I am one of those who believe that when you || costly Government. The expenses amount to Mr. HOWARD. Mr. President, I do not make a promise you should fulfil it; and I have perhaps $300,000,000 a year, a large portion rise to occupy the time of the Senate further sucli undoubted faith in the integrity of the of which is payable in United States notes. than to say that I do not concur at all in the people of this country that I do not believe | It is just as dishonorable, and no more disbonconclusions to which the honorable Senator there is a man anywhere entitled to confidence orable in the Government to pay the current from Indiana seems to have arrived in regard or respect who would countenance, or endeavor indebtedness in United States notes, as it is to the mode of payment of the bonds to which to give countenance, to those who would at- to pay other forms of indebtedness, where gold he has alluded. I believe that I was a member tempt to repudiate one penny of its obliga. is not called for, in that same currency, of the Senate and voted for every one of the tions. If you repudiate a part of the interest We cannot-the fact might as well be acstatutes authorizing the issue of those bonds, you repudiate the whole debt. If you fail to knowledged-now pay our indebtedness in and it never occurred to my mind that the pay in gold and silver, the currency of the gold; at some day we hope to be able to do it. Government of the United States was not under world, you refuse to pay your debts. I do not When we have improved our credit to such an the obligations of honor and good faith to pay believe anybody really intends to do that. I extent that our obligations will be equivalent those bonds in coin, in that kind of metal out have in my life, at various times, seen parties to gold then our payments will be in gold. But of which the dollar mentioned on the face of springing up in my State, when she was in our credit is not io be improved by vain declathe bond is made. Those bonds stipulate that trouble about her finances, aitempting to repu;
rations. Our credit is to be improved by the Government of the United States will pay diate the debt of the State, and I never failed || degrees, by addiug to the productive industry so many dollars to the bearer. What is a dol.
to see those put down and displaced. I never of the country, the wealth of the country lar? The old statutes of the United States have seen a demagogue who, in my State, That cannot be done in a day, nor by declara