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Adjournment Velo-Florida Banks.
(JUNE 22, 1836.
Mr. CALHOUN said the principle of the bill bad not This bill was accompanied by the following report: been changed, and he hoped the Senate would come to The Committee on Finance, who were directed by a a vote. No Secretary of the Treasury will ever call for resolution of the Senate, passed on the 21st of May, this money.
| 1836, “to inquire into the character, condition, and Mr. CLAY deemed the bill as amended better than it amount of capital, of the several banking institutions was before, because it now contained a restriction on which have been chartered within the last three years the Treasury in calling in the money, so that it would by the Territorial Government of Florida, and to make not be in the power of the Treasury to distress the banks. report to the Senate whether, in their opinion, any leHe also understood that the amendment would quiet gislation on the part of Congress is necessary, in order constitutional scruples somewhere, and he was was him to disaffirm the establishment of said charters, have had self disposed to respect and quiet scruples of that kind | that subject under consideration, and report: any how and any where.
That, in order to obtain full information upon the Mr. CLAYTON expressed his preference for the bill matters referred to it, the committee directed its chair. in its amended form to the original bill.
man to move a resolution in Senate requesting the SecMr. WHITE suggested that, as the operation of a | retary of State to transmit to the Senate, so soon as law of the States was rendered necessary by the amend they might be obtained, copies of all acts of the Terriment, and as the Legislature of Tennessee met but once torial Legislature of Florida incorporating banks or in two years, this State might have the benefit. He other institutions with banking powers. wished that no State should be deprived of the benefit Sufficient time has not elapsed to enable the Secretary Until her Legislature should have been in session. He to obtain authenticated copies of these laws; but, inaswould have preferred the bill as it went from the much as the committee has thought it important that the Senate.
attention of Congress should be drawn to the propriety Mr. WEBSTER thought that the original bill was of adopting some law in regard to the subject, at the liable to the same objection, and that the amendment present session, it has obtained, from other quarters, did not make the difficulty greater.
such information as it supposed might be relied on, and Mr. EWING, of Ohio, would have preferred the bill it is prepared to submit a bill to the consideration of the as it went from the Senate, because he thought the cer Senate. tificate system the best mode of reclaiming the depos By the act of the 30th of March, 1832, “ for the esites. Still he would vote for the amendment, although tablishment of a Territorial Government in Florida," it put it in the power of the States to evade the pay- it is prescribed that the legislative power shall be vested ment, should any of them be disposed to evade, which in the Governor, and in thirteen of the most fit and dishe did not expect would be the case.
creet persons of the Territory, to be called the LegislaMr. WHITE remarked that the difficulty he had sug. tive Council. gested might be avoided by the introduction of an ! The legislative powers of this Council are to extend amendment to the amendment of the House.
to “all the rightful subjects of legislation," with cer. Mr. CALHOUN said that few, if any, of the Legisla- tain exceptions enumerated in the law. It is made the tures would be in session before the 1st of January, when duty of the Governor, on or before the 1st day of Dethe bill will take effect.
cember in each year, to report to the President of the UniMr. MORRIS said his great objection to the amend. ted States all the laws made by the Legislative Council, ment was, that it created the relations of debtor and to the end that they may be laid before Congress, and creditor between the Federal and the State Govern any of those laws which may be disapproved by Congress ments. The money is placed in the banks by agree shall thenceforth be of no force. There appears nothment, but there could be no bargaining with the States. ing in the act of Congress restricting the Legislative
Mr, BENTON said he should vote against the amend Council from granting charters to banks, and other inment.
stitutions with banking powers. On the other hand, Mr. KING, of Alabama, did not approve of the amend there is no limitation, in point of time, upon the author
but, thinking it necessary to provide for placing ity of Congress to disapprove and annul the acts of the the revenue in greater security than that in which it now | Legislative Council. stands, he would surrender his objections.
The power of creating such corporations is capable of Mr. WHITE said, on examination, he found that his abuse, and the acts passed in the Territory are so likely, objections had abated, and he should not oppose the ordinarily, to escape the attention of Congress, unless, amendment.
for some particular reason, that attention be invited to The amendment was then concurred in.
them, that the committee are of opinion that no act of ADJOURNMENT VETO.
a Territorial Legislature incorporating a bank, or other The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the
institution with banking privileges, ought to be allowed message of the President of the United States, return
to have any effect at all until approved by Congress; and ing the bill to fix the day for the annual meeting of Cono
in the bill which is reported, a provision is inserted ingress, with his objections thereto.
tended to alter the power of all the Territorial Legisla. The question being on the passage of the bill, the ob.
tures, in this respect, as to all future cases. jections of the President thereto to the contrary not.
It would appear that charters were granted several withstanding, a debate ensued, in which Mr. CLAY. years ago, by the Territorial Legislature of Florida, inTON, Mr. WEBSTER, Mr. PRESTON, Mr. BAY.
corporating the Bank of Florida, at Tallahassee; the ARD, Mr. CLAY, Mr. LEIGH, Mr. CALHOUN,
Bank of Marianna; and the Bank of Magnolia. But it against, and Mr. RIVES and Mr. SHEPLEY in favor of
is represented to the committee that these banks have the opinion of the President, participated.
all surrendered their charters, and closed their concerns. The bill was then laid on the table, at the suggestion
There appear to be two banks at Tallahassee: one called of Mr. MORRIS, until to-morrow.
the Central Bank of Florida, the charter of which the
committee have not been able to obtain, and all the FLORIDA BANKS.
information they have respecting it is contained in a On motion of Mr. WEBSTER, the Senate proceeded statement of its condition, published in April last, which to consider the bill reported by the Committee on Fi-is herewith communicated. The other is called the Union nance, to disapprove and annul certain acts of the Ter- Bank of Florida, and was created by act of the 13th of ritorial Legislature of Florida, and for other purposes. | February, 1833. It has a capital of one million of dole
JUNE 22, 1836.]
lars, with a power of increasing it to three millions, them by any person or persons whatsoever, or may be which capital is to be raised by means of a loan, on the transferred to them by order of any of the courts of this faith of the Territory, by the directors of the bank. It Territory, or by any court as a court of chancery; 6th, has also an unlimited power of establishing branches in to receive and hold lands under grants, with such genthe Territory of Florida.
eral or special trusts or covenants, so far as the same So far as the committee learn, the capital of this bank may be taken in payment of their debts, or in security is at present one million only, which was obtained on of their capital or loans, or debts due them, or purchased bonds, purporting to be guarantied by the Territory, | upon sales under any law of this Territory, as may be and is said to be all loaned to planters in the Territory. | necessary to protect the rights of the said company, and
As this act was passed in February, 1833, it must be the same again to sell, convey, and dispose of; 7th, to presumed to have been known to Congress at the com- / buy, discount, and sell drafts, promissory notes, and bills mencement of its session, in December of that year. of exchange; 8th, to establish and locate branches for Two sessions, therefore, have elapsed since the period carrying on their business." when Congress, in the ordinary course of things, would The capital stock is two millions, and may be increas. become acquainted with its provisions. And although | ed to four millions of dollars; and the whole capital is these provisions are, in the judgment of the committee, to be loaned on bonds or notes, secured on real and highly objectionable, and such as no charter ought to personal estate in the Territory of Florida. The powhave embraced, yet, inasmuch as Congress has forborne, ers of the company are to be exercised by a board of for so long a period, to exercise its undoubted right of trustees, to consist of ten persons, and so classed as that disapproving the charter, it may be doubtful whether the term of service of two of them shall expire at the such exercise of its authority would be now expedient. end of each successive period of two years, being, in On the 19th of January, 1831, a bill passed the Legisla- | effect, an election of ten years, but w
effect, an election of ten years, but with a power in the tive Council to incorporate a bank by the name and style court of appeals, in the Territory, to remove a trustee of the Bank of Pensacola. This bill was rejected by the for misbehaviour. Governor, but was afterwards passed by the requisite ma. The company bas power to issue bills or notes, other jority of the members of the Legislative Council, and than drafts or bills of exchange, to the amount of capiso became a law. Several acts, supplementary to and tal actually paid in; and “to enable the said company to amendatory of the forementioned law, were subse- make loans and discounts beyond the amount of their quently passed, and are herewith communicated.
capital, to be paid in by the stockholders as aforesaid, This bank was originally a bank with a capital of two they may issue certificates of one thousand dollars each, hundred thousand dollars; and the committee perceive bearing not more than six per cent. interest, redeemnothing unusual or extraordinary in the powers which able within the range and limit of the charter, at such are granted to it. This capital does not appear to have times as the Governor and the company may agree on, been immediately subscribed or paid in, nor are the and present the same to the Governor or acting Govern. committee informed when the bank began its operations, or of this Territory, whose duty it shall be to endorse
On the 13th of February, 1835, an act passed the thereon, Guarantied by the Territory of Florida,' and Territorial Legislature, entitled “An act to increase sign his name and title of office thereto, and return the the capital of the Bank of Pensacola, and to amend same to the said company; and the faith of the said Terthe laws incorporating said bank, and for other pur. ritory is hereby pledged as security for said company, poses."
for the faithful payment of such certificates, according By this act the bank is authorized to increase its capi to the tenor and effect of the same. But no greater tal to two millions five hundred thousand dollars, with a amount of certificates shall be, at any time, endorsed, power to establish branches at pleasure in West Florida, than may be equal to the debts placed under mortgage and une branch in Marianna." It is also authorized to to the company at the time of making application, to buy shares, to any amount the directors see fit, in the be secured after the mode and in conformity to the Alabama, Florida, and Georgia Railroad Company; and, manner pointed out and directed in the sixth section of in order to enable the bank to make this purchase, the (the act.” bank is authorized to issue bonds to the amount of five The last two sections of the act are as follows: hundred thousand dollars, which bonds shall be guaran "Sec. 25. This law shall remain unalterable, without tied by the Territory, and the form of guarantee is pre- | the consent of the trustees of the said company, until scribed; and as the bank may have occasion for further the expiration of fifty years from its passage; nor shall funds, in order to pay instalments on its railroad stock, it, at any time hereafter, be so altered as to prevent the it is to issue other bonds, to be guarantied in like man execution by the company of any subsisting contract." ner by the Territory. This act, it would appear, was Sec. 26. This shall be taken and received in all
Congress on the 3d day of March last, being courts, and by all judges, magistrates, and all other the last day of the session. A copy is berewith com public officers, as a public act, and shall receive, on al municated.
occasions, a favorable construction; and all printed * On the 14th of February, 1835, an act passed the copies of the same, which shall be printed by, or under Legislative Council, and was approved by the Governor, the authority of, the Legislative Council, shall be adentitled “ An act to incorporate the Southern Life In- mitted as good evidence thereof, without any other surance and Trust Company.” This company is to be proof whatever.” located at St. Augustine. Some of its powers are thus As this act was passed on the 14th of February last, described:
it could not bave reached Washington in season for its “SEC. 2. The said company shall have power, 1st, consideration by Congress at any time during the last to make ensurance on lives; 2d, to grant and purchase session. annuities; 3d; to make any other contingent contracts The committee hardly deem it necessary to remark, involving the interest of money and the duration of life; at any great length, on the extraordinary nature and 4th, to receive moneys in trust, and to accumulate the provisions of the act for increasing the capital of the same, at such rates of interest as may be obtained Bank of Pensacola, and this act incorporating the Southor agreed on, not exceeding at the rate of eight perern Insurance Company. The acts themselves are now cent. per annum, or to allow such interest thereon as brought to the attention of the Senate, and their nature may be agreed on; 5th, to accept and execute all such and provisions are clearly seen. But the committee are trusts, of every description, as may be committed to lof opinion that both these territorial laws were highly
Northeastern Boundary--Joseph Grant.
(JUNE 23, 1836.
imprudent, that they ought not to have been passed; ! On motion of Mr. CLAYTON, the Senate proceeded and they submit to the Senate whether they ought now to the consideration of executive business. to be suffered to be carried into effect, without proper After taking up and acting upon several private bills, amendments, as shall reduce the amount of their capi The Senate adjourned. tal, especially that part which is contingent, abridge and reform the grants of extraordinary powers, and take away the guarantee of the Territory from their bonds
THURSDAY, JUNE 23. and contracts; or, at least, from all bonds and contracts
NORTHEASTERN BOUNDARY. which have not been issued and sold, and passed into Mr. CLAY stated that the Committee on Foreign Rethe hands of bonafide holders, before the day of the date lations had examined the correspondence which had of this report.
passed between the Governments of the United States But it is not for Congress to make these amendments, and Great Britain, for the settlement of our northeastern though it should deem them necessary. The power of
boundary. It had been referred, it would be recollectCongress is a simple power of disapproving the whole
ed by the Senate, for the sole purpose of ascertaining acts: and if nothing had been done under them, the
whether it might be published without prejudice to the committee would not hesitate to recommend such disap
public interests. The committee, thinking that the proval. Nor do they mean to say that such disapproval opinion and wishes of the Senators from the two States would be unjust; because Congress has had no earlier
of Maine and Massachusetts, more immediately interestopportunity to examine these laws, and to act upon ed, ought to have controlling influence on the question the question of annulling them; and it is hardly to of publication, had afforded them an opportunity of ex. be presumed that prudent men have ventured far, un
amining the correspondence, and they all concurred in der such a charter, granted by a Territorial Legislature,
believing it might be safely published. whose acts were well known to be subject to the revi
The negotiation has not entirely closed, although the sion of Congress.
committee regret to find that it does not promise to reBut it is competent for the Territorial Legislature,
sult in any satisfactory adjustment of the boundary queswith the consent of the corporations, to amend the char
tion. Various endeavors, during the progress of the ters in any manner deemed proper; and the resolution
correspondence, to accomplish that desirable end, have which the committee report to the Senate, in relation to
failed of success. Under all the circumstances, the these two acts, will show that, in the judgment of the
committee believe that much more mischief might be committee, it is expedient to give the corporators an
give the corporators andone from misconception and misrepresentation of what option and an opportunity to obtain proper amendments has been attempted by withholding the correspondence to their charters, if they see fit.
from the public, than by a publication of it. The comIn the session of 1836, the Territorial Legislature ap
mittee, therefore, concur in opinion with the Senators pear to have passed the following acts:
from Maine and Massachusetts, that it is expedient to An act to incorporate the Bank of St. Joseph's, capi. tal one million of dollars, and may be extended to two.
Mr. C. accordingly moved that it be published; which An act to incorporate a Florida Insurance and Bank
was ordered; and, upon the motion of Mr. SHEPLEY, ing Company, capital one million of dollars, and may be three thousand copies were ordered. increased to two. An act to incorporate the St. Joseph's Insurance
JOSEPH GRANT. Company, with a capital of one million of dollars, and On motion of Mr. KNIGHT, the bill to extend the may be increased to two millions.
patent right of Joseph Grant, for making hat bodies, was The committee entertain no doubt that these three taken up. last-mentioned acts ought to be altogether disapproved Mr. KNIGHT rose and addressed the Chair as follows: and annulled.
Mr. President, this is an application of Mr. Grant for Mr. WEBSTER gave a sketch of the history of the the renewal of a patent for his invention of a machine Florida legislation in reference to the incorporation of for making hat bodies. The history of the case, as I banks, and of the character of the charters which had understand it, is this: Mr. Grant, some eighteen or been granted; after which,
| twenty years ago, was a journeyman hatter, laboring The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third read. every day to obtain sustenance for himself, wife, and
family-a poor man, possessing nothing but his hands The Senate then took up the joint resolution, report whereby he could obtain a livelihood. His business led ed by the same committee, respecting certain acts of him to the contemplation of the mechanic arts. Knowthe Territorial Legislature of Florida; which was con- ing the great labor of forming what is called the hat sidered, and also ordered to be engrossed for a third body, he determined, if possible, to invent something reading
that should alleviate that part of his business. After [This resolution provides " that the act of the Terri much time and study, and many experiments, he brought torial Legislature of Florida, passed on the 14th of Feb forth the machine for which he now asks the extension ruary, 1835, and entitled "An act to increase the capi of his patent. After he had invented it, he had not the tal of the Bank of Pensacola, and to amend the laws in- means of putting it in operation. He showed it to seycorporating said bank, and for other purposes,' and the eral persons, and solicited their aid; but, for various act of the same Legislature, passed on the 14th of Feb- reasons, none had sufficient confidence in his invention ruary, 1835, and entitled An act to incorporate the to aid him in his designs. A Baptist preacher, I believe, Southern Life Insurance and Trust Company,' ought some connexion of Mr. Grant's, also poor, but well-innot to be suffered to remain in force with the provisions formed, inspected it, and had confidence in it. He which they at present contain; nor unless they be undertook, with the inventor, to carry into operation the amended by a proper reduction of the amount of capi. new machine. These two men, both without property, tal; by a proper abridgment and reformation of the pow. after much trouble and perplexity, started the machine, ers granted; and by taking away the guarantee of the and, to the astonishment of every body, saw the fulfil. Territory from their bonds and contracts, or at least ment of their expectations. They continued their busifrom all such bonds and contracts as have not been actu-ness for some time, when the gentleman associated with ally issued and sold, and passed into the hands of bona- Mr. Grant, finding it required more capital to carry on fide holders, before the 20th day of June, 1836." I the business than they possessed, sold out to a gentleman
JUNE 23, 1836.]
Hour of Meeting--Patent Office--Public Lands.
who was willing to advance a sufficient capital to give the patent. These are the facts of this case as I underthe machine a fair trial. They proceeded in their busi- stand them, and I leave it to the Senate to decide as they ness, when, from some cause to me unknown, it was think proper. discovered the patent of Mr. Grant was void--that it did Messrs. WALL and NILES opposed it; after which, not, in fact, cover the invention. He then applied for a it was laiù on the table. new patent, and a new one was made out, of the same date as the former patent. This date was taken, not, as
HOUR OF MEETING. I understand, by the request of the patentee, but by Mr. SOUTHARD submitted a resolution providing for some fixed rule of the Patent Office. They continued the meetings of the Senate, for the remainder of the their business until they discovered the market was full session, at ten o'clock, A. M., and that the Senate take of hat bodies, made by machinery similar to the invention a recess from two to four o'clock. of Mr. Grant. He then endeavored to seek out the vioa Mr. KING, of Alabama, said he had no objection to lators of his patent right. He did so, and found some meeting at ten o'clock, but he objected to the recess; of them in operation. With some he compromised; and therefore asked for a division of the question. others refused, and he was compelled to prosecute them; ' Mr. PRESTON also opposed the recess. and, after expending a large sum of money in the prose- / Mr. WEBSTER moved to lay the resolution on the cution of those trespassers on him, he obtained judgment table; which was carried. against them, which they were not able to pay. I un
PATENT OFFICE. derstand, from the papers now before the Senate, that he expended about' fourteen thousand dollars, and re- The bill to provide a building for a Patent Office beceived about twenty-one hundred, leaving a balance of ing read a third time, and the question being on its pasexpenses against him of about twelve thousand dollars. sage, These were not the only violators of his patent; a model Mr. CLAY objected to the passage of the bill. He of it was taken to Germany, and put in operation there, thought that the total expenditure required, according and hat bodies shipped to this country. At that time the to the plan proposed, would be 400,000 or $500,000. hat body was not known in the tariff laws, and they en-Four millions of brick would be required by this bill, tered into our markets, in competition with the patentee, and that quantity could not be supplied this season. He almost without a duty. This machine is considered one wished to know what had become of the project of purof the most useful inventions that has ever been made in chasing the building northeast of the Capitol square. this country; considering its simplicity, the little expense The House of Representatives had been better accomto make it, and the labor it performs, it may be placed modated in that building than any where else, and it apamong the first class. The cotton gin, and the machine peared to be particularly well adapted for a Patent Offor making card teeth and cards, may be before it; but fice. But, if a splendid edifice must be built, it would I do not recollect any other superior in usefulness. It be well to wait till another session, and pass a bill at a performs the labor of thirty men, with very little cost, time when there might be a collection made of sufficient compared with the manual labor. I am informed it materials. makes two hundred and fifty hat bodies per day, when Mr. RUGGLES stated that the building referred to a good workman makes but nine. Had Mr. Grant lived would require to be rebuilt before it could be used for in Georgia or Carolina, they would have given him a any purpose, and even then it would not be more fit for fortune for his invention, as they did the inventor of the the Patent Office than the building now occupied. He cotton gin; or had he lived in England, he would have stated what was the crowded condition of the Patent been placed by the side of Sir Richard Arkwright, and Office at present, numbers of valuable models being the other great inventors of that country; but here he crowded into the cellar. It had become absolutely nehas been trespassed on, his rights violated, and that cessary that the Post Office should have the whole of which was his own, and should bave been secured to the building now occupied by the Patent Office. He him, has been taken from him. And when he asks a also' stated that there would be a convenient arrangerenewal of his patent for the time that was lost to him,ment in the new building for the exhibition of manufacso as to make out his fourteen years, he is told his inven turing models. tion, his own property, has become the vested rights Mr. CLAYTON complimented the Senator from and property of others, and to grant him this patent is a Maine for the labor he had employed in the investigadestruction of these vested rights; and that the time has tion of the Patent Office; but stated that he should pregone by for a renewal of the patent.
fer the purchasing of the building near the Capitol; and, Mr. President, how are the facts? Before Mr. Grant's for the purpose of transferring the matter to another patent had expired, he gave notice, according to law, session, moved to lay the bill on the table. in several newspapers which are now on your table, that Mr. RUGGLES asked for the yeas and nays; which he intended to apply to Congress for a renewal of his were ordered. patent. This was in the year 1834; his patent did not The question was then taken, and decided as follows: expire until August, 1835. He did apply in December, Yeas - Messrs. Bayard, Black, Brown, Clay, Clayton, 1834, and the Senate passed the bill extending his Crittenden, Cuthbert, Davis, Goldsborough, Hendricks, patent, and sent it to the other House, but the mass of Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, Leigh, Mangum, Morbusiness before that House at the last session prevented ris, Porter, Robbins, Swift, White-20. their acting on it. He has continued his application to Nars--Messrs. Benton, Calhoun, Ewing of Ohio, the present time; and if any persons have seized on this | Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Nicholas, macbine since the expiration of his patent, they have Niles, Prentiss, Preston, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, done it since last August, and in full knowledge of all Tipton, Walker, Wall, Webster--18. these facts. The patent to Oliver Evans, for manufac So the bill was ordered to lie on the table. turing flour and meal, expired on the 7th of January, 1805, and he applied for the renewal of his patent on the
PUBLIC LANDS. 31st December of the same year, about one whole year Mr. EWING, of Ohio, moved to take up the bill to after the expiration of his patent. His patent was re- change the mode of conducting the sales of the public newed. I have been informed that exceptions to the lands. renewal were taken to the Supreme Court of the United Mr. BLACK opposed the motion, and it was carried: States, and that court decided in favor of the renewal of | Yeas 23, nays 17, as follows:
[JUNE 23, 1836.
YEAS--Messrs. Bayard, Buchanan, Clay, Clayton, ceived, and thus the frauds so much magnified might be Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hub- narrowed down to a very small compass. He would bard, Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, Leigh, Mangum, suggest to the Senator from Ohio, who took so deep an Moore, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Ruggles, Shepley, interest in the public lands, that the best way to prevent Southard, Swift, Tomlinson, Webster--23.
| frauds and combinations would be to abolish the present Nays--Messrs. Benton, Black, Brown,' Hendricks, land system altogether, and reserve the public domain King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Page, | in the valley of the Mississippi for the purpose of making Porter, Robinson, Tipton, Walker, Wall, White, it an asylum for the poor man of every country in the Wright--17.
world who may be disposed to come there and cultivate Mr. EWING, of Ohio, explained the nature and ob- the soil for an honest support. jects of the bill, which, for the purpose of preventing Mr. WALKER said that he had wished that the consid. fraud, violence, and combinations, at the public land eration of this subject might be postponed until the next sales, substitute secret and sealed bids for the present session of Congress, when the subject might be more open and oral bids, and offered some amendments to maturely considered, and some measure devised more perfect the details; which were agreed to.
calculated to effect the object in view than the one beMr. WALKER then moved the indefinite postpone-fore them. Mr. W. entered at length into the various ment of the bill.
objections he had to the bill, and supported them with Mr. CALHOUN said that this motion was intended to an argument of considerable force and ability. The aboldefeat the bill; but, as it was a measure of considerable ishment of the present auction system, which had existed importance, he hoped it would not be thrown aside with- since the adoption of the constitution, and even prior to out some discussion. He would be glad to hear the ar- that time, and the substitution of a species of freeguments for and against it before he gave his vote. masonry in its stead, would, in his opinion, lead to frauds
Mr. PORTER was perfectly willing to allow genthe of incalculably greater extent than bad ever heretofore men an opportunity of perfecting the details of the bill, been alleged to have taken place. He had attended a and he therefore hoped that the Senator from Mississip few land sales in Mississippi, and he most solemnly be. pi would withdraw the motion. He was satisfied, how. lieved that no frauds or violence had ever taken place ever, that more frauds would be practised under the at the sales there; he had seen none, and had heard of provisions of this bill than under the present practice. none. If violence would ever be perpetrated under the
Mr. PRESTON feared that the bill could not accom- present system, it would only be where the speculator plish the object intended. There was more danger of purchased the farm in the possession of the honest cultifrauds being practised in secrecy than when the bidsvator, and deprived him of a home for his wife and were open, and in the presence of hundreds. He had children, and he had never heard of but one case of that heard frequent complaints of frauds in the land offices, kind. Among his various objections to the bill, Mr. W. of which he professed to know nothing; but he thought referred to the strong temptations that it offered to the that this bill would offer strong temptation to such public officers. If it took effect, they must, he said, frauds.
place archangels in the land offices instead of men, or Mr. EWING said he had bestowed much pains and they would violate that precept of holy writ, “lead us labor in the consideration of the subject, and, in common not into temptation.” of the whole one hundred and with the committee, had come to the conclusion that fourteen registers and receivers, if only two villains this was the only plan that could be adopted to prevent should be among them, they could make such a scene of violence, if not frauds, at the public land sales. Mr. E., fraud and violence as never was before heard of. It in the course of his remarks, described the combinations would give the whole control of the land offices to the and violence used at the public land sales to prevent | registers and receivers, and the sales must depend on honest bids, and gave a history of the manner in which their honesty. A stronger temptation to villany could frauds of great extent had been successfully perpetrated. not be presented to the cupidity of man. Mr. W. took Mr. E. also explained at full length the manner in which an extended view of the process of secret bids, and dethe provisions of this bill would operate in preventing | scribed the powers of the registers and receivers over frauds, violence, and combinations, and argued to show them, and showed the various modes by which the laws that it would amply guard against the evils that now might be evaded, violated, and set aside, and no human existed. Sealed bids, he said, were made in relation being but the registers and receivers, and the few into every public contract, except for the public lands: terested with them, have the slightest knowledge of for the Post Office, for supplies for the navy and army, their proceedings. for the letting of contracts for roads, and, in short, for Mr. KING, of Alabama, was fully aware that the every thing but for the sales of the lands.
Committee on the Public Lands had reported this bill Mr. LINN said that, as much bad been said as to frauds with a sincere desire to guard against the various frauds in the public lands, he wished to inquire particularly of at the public land sales, which he had very little doubt the chairman whether any frauds had been alleged to had been perpetrated. He did believe that it was possible have been committed in Missouri.
to devise some mode by which these frauds might be Mr. EWING replied that there was no doubt but that guarded against, and that they might dispose of the lands a great number of frauds had been perpetrated at the beneficially to the settler, and beneficially to the Governland sales; but he could not say that there were any ment, without the corrupting influence of those speculacharges that frauds had been committed in Missouri par- tions and frauds that had heretofore existed. He had ticularly.
looked into the bill with a sincere desire to find that it was Mr. LINN said his object was to have the skirts of calculated to accomplish the object in view; but, after a Missouri cleared of any imputations tbat might indirectly careful examination, he was constrained to believe that rest upon her in consequence of the frauds that had been it would open the door to greater frauds than had ever alleged to have taken place in the public land sales. He | yet been perpetrated; that, under its operation, they had travelled much through Missouri, and be had never would get less money for the lands, and that it would heard of frauds and combinations there, and he felt give great facilities to the speculating tribe, while it warranted in saying that none had ever existed. Perhaps, would operate less favorably for the actual settler. Mr. if gentlemen from the other new States would rise and K. described the manner in which the combinations of ask the same question from the chairman, similar an sagacious and wealthy capitalists prevented a fair com. swers to that given in relation to Missouri might be re-petition from those who wished to purchase for actual