Imagens das páginas

here that it is exceedingly doubtful, in view of I would much prefer the section if it was ceed to the consideration of executive business. the very decided expression of the other branch more explicit in its provisions, if it declared The motion was agreed to; and after half an of Congress, whether this bill can be passed | upequivocally that these and no other con hour spent in executive session the doors were unless it embraces this second section; and tracts should be valid or binding; or I would || reopened. while the section may not produce any partic- || be content, so far as I am individually con

ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY. ular good, I do not see that it will be produc cerned, to have the section stricken out of the tive of any particular harm, for it simply bill. I do not regard it as of any

Mr. RAMSEY. I move that when the Sen.

considerable affirms that certain contracts specified in the value, so far as I am concerned; but it was

ate adjourn to-day it be to meet on Monday

next. section shall be valid. I do not quite agree adopted by the Committee on Finance, having with the Senator from California in his position been sanctioned by both branches of Congress informed that that motion is not in order at

The VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair is that because the section contains the word at the last session, and it was supposed Con* hereafier,'' providing for contracts hereafier gress would adhere to its former decision on

present, except by unanimous consent, there to be made, any implication arises that con the subject, and for that reason the report is

being a bill pending before the Senate.

Mr. RAMSEY. I ask unanimous consent tracts heretofore made are invalid. made. I shall not be particularly dissatisfied

to submit that motion. Mr. MORTON. Will the Senator allow me if the section is stricken out; but it is my opinto ask him a question? When this second sec

Mr. WILLIAMS and others objected. ion that in order to save the first section, which

Mr. RAMSEY. I move, then, to postpone tion affirms that contracts hereafter made spe. is of such great value, it will be necessary to cifically payable in coin, and the consideration include the second section of the bill.

the further consideration of the bill before the of wbich may be a loan of coin, shall be valid, Mr. HOWARD. Mr. President, I am not

Senate with a view of making that motion.

Mr. CONKLING. I ask for the yeas and is it not equivalent to an affirmation that con: perfectly familiar with the decision of the Sutracts herealier made specifically payable in preme Court on this subject. It is manifest

pays on that motion. coin the consideration of which is currency ihat the committee in drasting this second sec

The yeas and nays were ordered. shall not be valid ? tion intended to impose some restrictions upon

Mr. CONKLING. Now, I wish to make Mr. WILLIAMS. I am not now discussing the capacity of parties to enter into contracts

one remark explanatory of my calling for the that point. I was simply endeavoring to ex payable in coin. This clause authorizes such yeas and nays. We are considering a bill here plain my views upon the position assuined by contracts to be entered into only in three cases.

which has been passed once, and it is a very the Senator from California. I understand the The first is where the consideration of the con.

important bill. Suppose we reach the hour law to be well settled that an act of Congress tract is a loan of coin. That we understand

of adjournment to-day and take no vote; and is not to have a retroactive effect, unless it is il perfectly well. The second is where there is

to-morrow, by being here a little while, we so expressly provided or unless it follows by a sale of property or there has been a rendition

couid take a vote. Leaving out of view all necessary implication. All contracts made of services, ibe value of either of which has

other business is it worth wbile now for us, at prior to the enactment of this law must be been settled by the parties upon the coin basis

this hour, to say that when we adjourn governed by the law in existence at the time or standard. It does not relate to the renewal

we shall adjourn to meet on Monday; so that, the contracts were made. Laws in existence or novation of a contract which has already

no matter how much we may want to be here become a part of the contract, a part of the expired; for instance, it would not apply, as I

to morrow, we shall not be able to be here? obligation of the contract; and this statute

I suppose, to a case in which the original loan

with the Senator from Massachusetts,

agree would not be construcd by any court to impair | had been in currency and the contract bad

[Mr. Wilson,) who says in an undertone that the obligation of any antecedent contract un expired and become due. I take it that in

we ought to be here every day attending to less there were in it provisions necessarily com such a case as that it would not be competent,

our business until we dispose of it; but cer: pelling the court to reach that conclusion. As even under this statute, for the parties to agree

tainly with a bill of this sort pending, which I suming that it has been decided by the Supreme to make that old contract which had expired | hope we can dispose of 10-day, but certainly Court of the United States that all contracts a gold contract.

to-morrow, I see no reason why, without any heretofore made payable in coin are valid and The VICE PRESIDENT. The Senator from | occasion, we should adjourn over. binding contracts, I undertake to say that that Michigan will suspend his remarks to enable Mr. RAMSEY, The Senator certainly knows court would not construe this section as in any a message to be received from the President that we do business outside of the Senate way invalidating or affecting those contracts, of the United States.

Chamber, which is just as pressing upon us as because it expressly provides that its operation Mr Horace Porter appeared below the bar our business here. shall be in futuro and that it shall not have a and delivered several messages, of an execu;

Mr. CONKLING. I do not know about retrospective operation ; and of course it could tive character, from tbe President of the United

that. not with that construction put upon it, which States.

Mr. SHERMAN. If the Senator from Min. would be a necessary construction, affect ex Mr. HOWARD. And so of any other kind nesota wants to adjourn over in order to go isting contracts.

of contracts not expressly mentioned in the around and get offices for somebody, I advise It provides that certain contracts made here section. I do not wish to discuss the question hiin to post pose that for a week or two, until after, specifically payable in coin, shall be valid as to the power of Congress to prescribe any

the Cabinet is settled. and binding; and the contracts are designated | rules or regulations in regard to the validity of

Mr. RAMSEY. I have no such intention, by the different considerations. A contract contracts entered into in the States; but I must

I will inform the Senator. the consideration of which is a loan of coin confess that I am rather inclined to the opin

Mr. SHERMAN. There is no doubt that shall be a valid contract; a contract for the ion that so far as the States are concerned Con. appeals of that kind are made. I will state sale of property shall be a valid contract; a gress has no authority under the Constitution that, in addition to the pending bill, there is contract for the rendering of labor or service to make such a rule as this which is expressed

another bill which should be acted upon at the of any kind shall be a valid contract. These in the second section. It appears to me rather present session, and is now ready to be acted three classes of contracts, if made payable spe. that the whole business of contracts, as well on; that is, the bill for the redistribution of cifically iu coin, shall be valid, and it is prob. as a thousand other matters of a domestic the banking circulation; and I am in hopes able that the implication would arise-and nature, is reserved to the State Legislatures that we shall sit here every day until we get have no doubt that is the intention of those who to be regulated by State law. I will not, how through our business and go home. I am very framed this section and who insist that it shall ever, undertake to discuss that question. It anxious to go back to Ohio, and get out of be a part of the bill-that the section does re is one of great doubt as well as of great im Washington as soon as possible. I sball there. strict the validity of such contracts to those || portance. But as it seems to be the disposition fore vote against any adjournment over. made upon the considerations specified in the of the committee to impose restrictions on the The question being taken by yeas and nays, section.

general authority of parties to enter into con: resulted-yeas 29, nays 25 ; as follows: The objection made to a general provision tracts, I beg to offer as an amendment, to come YEAS-Messrs. Bayard, Boreman, Carpenter, Cag. providing tbat all contracts made specifically, in at the end of this section, the following pro

serly, Chandler, Cragin, Fenton, Harris. Howard, payable in coin shall be valid is that it would viso; and I commend it to the attention of

Howe, McCreery, Norton. Pomeroy, Pool, Pratt,

Ramsey, Robertson, Ross, Sawyer, Scott, Spencer, enable the creditors in the country at this time Senators as a means of introlucing more cer. Sprague, Stockton, Sumner, Thurman, Tipton, Trumto take advantage of the necessities of the tainty and exactness into the contracts con:

bull, Vickers, and Yates-29. debtors and compel them to execute contracts

NAYS-Messrs. Abbott, Brownlow, Cattell, Cole, templated by the section :

Conkling, Corbett, Drake, Edmunds, Ferry, Fessenhereafter payable in coin when the contracts Provided, That such contract shall be in writing den, Gilbert, Grimes, Hamlin, Harlan. Kellogg, Mcat this time are payable in currency; and the

signed by the piirty to be bound thereby, and shall Donald, Morrill, Morton, Osborn, Rice, Sherman, object of this section, as I understand it, is to expressly set forth that it is payable in coin.

Thayer, Warner, Willey, and Williams-25. prevent the creditor class of the country from These requirements are not contained in the

ABSENT--Messrs. Anthony, Buckingham, Came

ron, Davis, Fowler, Nye. Patterson, Saulsbury, oppressing the debtor class by requiring any section as it now stands. The section does

Schurz, Stewart, and Wilson-11. such contracts. It provides that all contracts

not require the contract to be in writing; it So the motion to postpone was agreed to. of this description that shall hereafter be held may rest in parol and be subject to all the un

Mr. RAMSEY. I now move that when the 10 be valid shall be contracts founded upon

certainties attending parol contracts.

It is as

Senate adjourns to-day it adjourn to meet on certain considerations. No contract for the much exposed to those uncertainties as the old

Monday next. loan of currency where the borrower agrees to contracts were that became the subject of the

The motion was agreed to; there being on a pay specifically in coin would probably be held statute of frauds. I venture to offer this as an valid under ibis section; but the contract to

amendment to the section; it seems to me it division--ayes 28, noes 22. be valid must be a contract made where the

will improve it. money borrowed is coin; and so in reference to


Mr. WILLIAMS. I move that the Senate the other considerations named in the section. Mr. WILSON. I move that the Senate pro resume the consideration of Senate bill No. 66.

41st Cong. Ist SESS.No. 4.


The motion was agreed to; and the Senate, States have left men free to form their con on the coin basis. It will invite litigation into as in Committee of the Whole,resumed the con tracts as they will, either in gold or in paper. the consideration of contracts and raise new sideration of the bill (8. No. 56) to strengthen That is the effect of judicial interpretation. questions that will embarrass the business of the public credit, and relating to contracts for That has been settled by that department of the country: the payment of coin, the pending question our Government which is entitled to consider I think the decision of the Supreme Court being on the amendment to the second section and settle such questions.

that contracts may be enforced as they ire: proposed by Mr. Iloward, to add as a proviso: This section of the bill quite as much as the

made will tend to relieve business from Proriiled, That such contract shall be in writing, first section, in my opinion, is open to the ob embarrassment that was supposed to exist by signed by the party to be bound threby, and shall jection of being an attempt to interpret laws by the legal-tender act. I never could expressly set forth that it is payable in coin.

a body whose function does not lie in that di why we should make it unlawful for a perso: Mr. HOWARD. As I remarked before, the

rection. It is legislative interpretation, which to buy gold to pay duties with and at the same olject of that amendment is to guard against never was and never ought to be authoritative time require him to pay duties in gold. I never fraud and perjury in the enforcement of gold

upon any law except, perhaps, that which the could understand how anybody in the woriú contracts. It is a provision analogous to the Legislature is passing at the time. It never was benefited by hampering contracts as the statute of frauds. "It will have the effect, if it should be admitted that the legislative branch law as it formerly stood was supposed to em. is adopted, to require every such contract to of this Government is to exercise the right of barrass them. I never could see any virtue in be reduced to writing and signed by the parties, || interpreting past laws. However much entitled that law, but the Supreme Court have given it and the terms of the written contract itself to

to respect the opinions of individual Senators such a construction that I do not think it will be such as to leave no mistake or misappre

may be, no court would permit such legislative be as injurious as the present proposition. li hension as to the intention of the parties. It interpretation to affect a contract in the past.

the section is still open to amendment I should will shut the door against false testimony as to But here, sir, the people of the country, hav.

like to offer an amendment and take the sense the agreement between the parties to the con ing received an adjudication from that branch of the Senate upon the plain proposition of tract, by reducing it to writing so that it may be of the Government entitled to weight, respect, allowing people to make their own contracis clearly understood by the parties and by the and obedience, may rest in security; men may without embarrassment. I inquire of the Chair court. I think there can be no objection to frame their contracts with a clear understand. if it is still in order to offer an amendinent? such a clause.

ing of their results, but pass the bill and you The VICE PRESIDENT. It is open to Mr. SHERMAN. It is adding a statute of will have the consideration of contracts inquired amendinent. The motion to strike out is hell frands to this short section. If the Senator || into, and, to use the language of this section, in abeyance as long as any motion to amend wishes to accomplish the object all he has to do you will have the inquiry made whether they is made to perfect the words proposed to be is to insert the word “written" before “conhave been adjusted upon the basis of coin.

stricken out. tract;' so as to read: “any written contract I think, sir, that this section will only make Mr. STEWART. I move, then, to amend hereafter made specifically payable in coin.”' || glad the hearts of those men whose profits are the section by striking out in the second line I shall make no objection to that. derived from public litigation. I think it will

the word “hereafter," and in the same line by Mr. HOWARD. Very well. I am anxious destroy in a great measure that certainty which || striking out all after the word " coin' down to to have the contract in writing so that the par: it should be the object of all legislators as well and including the word “labor" in the seventh ties to it may understand it; but even that will

as judges to reach. Now that the country has the line, in the following words: not cure the defect in the present section. The authoritative decision of the branch entitled to And the consideration of which may be a loan of section does not require it to be stated in the make it, that coin contracts are lawful and that

coin or a sale of property or a rendering of labor or contract itself, if I understand it, that it is they can be sustained and will be enforced, I

service of any kind, ihoprice of which as carried into

the contract inay have been adjusted on the basis of payable in coin.

think that is all we need. This section not only tho coiu value thereof at the tiine of such sale or the Nr. SHERMAN. Yes. The word “spe. would give no force to that decision, but it would

rendering of such service or labor, cifically" is as good a legal word as my friend unsettle it and throw it open to question here

So that the section will read: can coin for that purpose, I think. The lan

after. Peace and certainty ought to be the ends That any contract maile specifically payable in coin griage is : "any contract hereafter made spe.

of litigation as well as legislation. I think this shall be legalaud valid and may been forced accord citically payable in coin.” If you introduce

ing to its terms. section tends in a great degree to destroy both; the word " written,' that covers the Senator's and if the business men of the country, those

I think that will embarrass 110 one and will point.

interested in this very class of contracts, could be in accordance with the decision of the Su. Mr. HOWARD. Very well; I accept that understand the nature and effect and meaning preme Court. I should like to have the yeas suggestion, and beg to change my amendment of this section, such expressions reach the ears

and nays on that plain proposition. If the so as to propose to insert the word “written" of gentlemen in Congress that they would not

section is to be trammeled with an invitation before the word “contract," if that is satishesitate to vote against it. Therefore, sir, I,

to litigation, to inquire into the original confactory to the chairman of the committee.

opposing this bill upon other grounds, possibly sideration, to determine what contracts peoThe VICE PRESIDENT. The Senator

to be hereafter mentioned, certainly shall favor ple may make and what they may not make, from Michigan withdraws his former amend. the striking out of this section.

I think it will be injurious, and I shall vote ment and moves now to insert the word “ writ

Mr. STEWART. I call for the reading of

against the whole of it. I should like the yeas ten" before the word “contract." the section as amended.

and ways on this question of allowing the peoThe amendment was agreed to.

The Secretary read as follows:

ple to make their own contracts to be paid in The VICE PRESIDENT. The question SEC. 2. And be it further enncled, That any written

gold according to their terms. recurs on the motion of the Senator from Mas. contract hereafter made specifically payable in coin,

The VICE PRESIDENT. Does the Sen. sachusetts [Mr. SUMNER] to strike out the and the consideration of which may be a loan of coin ator in the first instance demand a vote by yeas second section.

or a sale of property or the rendering of labor or and nays or a vote by count?

service of any kind, the price of which as carried into Mr. PRATT. I move the following amend the contract may have been adjusted on the basis of

Mr. STEWART. I should like to have a ment to the section :,

the coin value thereof at the time of such sale or the vote by yeas and nays, because it is a very im And provided further. That such contracts shall

rendering of such service or labor, shall be legal and not be valid until the Government shall redoen its Valid and may be enforced according to its terms.

portant question. I propose to leave out the

word " written." United States notes in coin.

Mr. STEWART. I see a good deal of trouble The VICE PRESIDENT. The only way in I do not propose to debate the amendment.

and difficulty about this section. I think it is which the Senator can arrive at tbat, as that I offer it simply in compliance, as I under: going to embarrass the transaction of business word has been specitically inserted, is to move stand, with the purpose and intent of a joint in the making of contracts.

his proposed amendment as a substitute for resolution adopted by the General Assembly

Mr. SUMNER., I will remind the Senator the section, which will then strike out other of the State of Indiana, which reads as fol

that there is a motion now pending to strike words besides that which has been inserted. lows: it out.

Mr. STEWART. I will take the sense of Be it resolved by the General Assembly of the State Mr. STEWART. I am aware of that, but of Inilinna, That our Senators in Congress be in

the Senate on the proposition with that word structed and our Representatives requested to opposo

I wish to make a remark or two upon it. I in as it stands first. by their influence and votes the passage of any bill have been very much in favor of a gold con The VICE PRESIDENT. The Senator that sball specially legalize coin contracts until the United States shall redeem its Treasury notes in coin.

tract law, and have voted on every occasion allows the word “ written to remain in, anel and oppose the inactment of any law which shali

when I have had an opportunity to do so for therefore the proposition will stand simply as have the effect to reduce the present volume of paper such a law; and if such a law could be enacted an amendment. money in use among the people of the United States." now in simple form, so as not to embarrass the Mr. SUMNER. Some question has arisela The amendment was rejected.

business of the country and open a field of in the course of this debate with regard to the The VICE PRESIDENT. The question | litigation, I should be very glad to vote for it. decision of the Supreme Court. Sepators recurs on the motion of the Senator from Mas. If this section could be amended so as to read have attributed to it different meanings. For sachusetts to strike out the second section. thus: “ that any contract made specifically li instance, as I understand, the Senator from

Mr. BAYARD. Mr. President, I consider ! payable in coin shall be legal and valid, and Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN] restrains it lo contracis this section as probably the most mischievous may be enforced according to its terins, 1 made anterior to the legal-tender act. I know part of the bill. I think that it could fairly be should be in favor of it. But the section as it i that one or two of the judges so limited the entitled “ an act to emasculate the decisions now stands contains an invitation to inquire | decision, but I never understood that such of the Supreme Court.” It will tend to foment into the consideration of all contracts. It will Wils the opinion of a majority of the court. litigation und unsettle questions more than any involve the country in litigation, and will be Since I made my motion I have received from act which could possibly be devised. Sub: 1 especially injurious, I think, upon the Pacilic the Supreme Court room a copy of the de: glantially the Supreme Court of the United coast, where the business has islways been done cision, and now have it in my hands.


Mr. SHERMAN. With the leave of my friend tured to call the attention of the Senate to the thing, is simply a limitation upon the liberty of from Massachusetts I will state that what I said possibility of legal questions arising from this the citizen, a limitation upon the capacity to was that the case before the court was a case conflict between the act of Congress and the make contracts payable in gold, limited first arising upon a contract payable in coin made rule of the court. Unquestionably there must by the provisions of the section as originally before the legal-tender act, and the only case be doubts on this section should it ever become reported by the committee, and now still more they decided was that case. The reasoning of a law. Those doubts will reappear in a crop disastrously linited by the amendment subthe court, the different members of it varying of lawsuits occupying the calendars of your stantially incorporating into it the statute of differently in their reasons, I have no doubt courts, interfering essentially with the facili frauds. I make these remarks because while will sustain the general principle which the ties of business. Now, sir, I believe that noth I have entertained the wish and bave voted for Senator rises to maintain, I presume, that con: ing is more important than to make business an unlimited liberty of the citizen to make gold tracts in coin, coin being a legal currency, are plain, clear, intelligible, facile. Do not throw contracts, I shall be compelled to vote to strike lawful now. Undoubtedly that is the principle in its way bars, impediments, difficulties, out this second section, because it is a limita decided, but that was not the case before the doubts, obscurities. Such I fear you will do tion, and in ny judgment an unjust one, upon court.

if you enact the section which I have proposed that liberty unless it is entirely nugatory. Vr. SCMNER. I understand the Senator; to strike out. Fall back on the decision of the The VICE PRESIDENT. The question is he is right. It was not the case precisely before court. That is plain, perfectly intelligible, and on the amendment of the Senator froin Nevada the court, but the majority of the court in de broad and universal. I believe that, should | [Mr. STEWART] to the second section. ciding that case laid down the broad principle it be recoguized throughout the country, it will Mr. WILLIAMS. I think it is quite unnec. that contracts in coin were valid, whether made be an important stage toward that resumption | essary to adopt the section in the form it would before or after the passage of the legal-tender of specie payments which we all so much de. be if thus amended, because it is admitted on act. That was the conclusion of the court. I sire. I believe that the adoption of your section all hands that the Supreme Court of the United know that one of the judges, Mr. Justice Davis, would be an essential linitation of it, which States have decided in substance what that secconcurring in the conclusion, said:

would, to a certain extent, interfere with that tion will then contain, and there is no necessity “I assent to the result which a majority of the resumption which we so much desire. I hope, or propriety in reënacting a decision of the court bare arrived at, that an express contract to therefore, that the Senate will consent to strike || Supreme Court. The value of this section, if' pay coin of the United States before the act of February 25, 1562, commonly called the legal-tender act,

out the second section and leave us to proceed || it has any value at all, is its restrictive charac. is not within the clause of that act which makes under the decision of the court.

ter and nothing else. Though it may be true Treasury notes a legal tender in payment of debis, Mr. CORBETT. Mr. President, I entirely | that the Supreme Court has decided that all but I think it proper to guard against all possibivity of inisapprehension by stating that if thero be any

agree with the Senator from Massachusetts in contracts payable in coin are valid and legal reasoning in the opinion of the majority which can

the views expressed by him, and I shall vote contracts, it does not necessarily follow that be applicable to any other class of contracts it does to strike out the second section. That section Congress may not legislate upon that subject. not receive iny assent."

provides, as it now stands, that written con I understand the Supreme Court to construe Thus you have Mr. Justice Davis declining to tracts hereafter made specifically payable in the laws of Congress as they now stand to mean accept all the conclusions of the majority of the coin shall be valid under certain circumstances. that all contracts payable specifically in coin

But go to the opinion of the court, and The Supreme Court has decided that all con are valid and binding contracts; but certainly what do you find? Let me read a clause: tracts made payable in coin are valid and can Congress can change its own laws and make

"Payment of money is delivery by the debtor to be enforced, and gold collected under them. them mean another and a different thing; and the creditor of the amount due. A contract to pay We have in'existence in our State a law some if this section has any effect at all it is simply a certain number of dollars in gold or silver coins

what similar to this, and the mercantile com. to provide that the class of contracts described is therefore, in legal import, nothing else than an agreeinent to deliver a certain weight of standard

munity are constantly acting under it. They in the section shall be valid and legal, and no gold, to be ascertained by a count of coins, each of make out their bills in the ordinary way and other sort of contracts shall be valid and legal bich is certitied to contain a detinite proportion of that weight. It is not distinguishable, as we think,

stamp at the head of them “payable in United made specifically payable in coin. There seeins in principle from a contract to deliver an equal States gold coin,” and that is considered as a to be a great necessity for such legislation in weight of bullion of equal fineness. It is distin contract to pay coin. It may not be considered some portions of the United States, and in gaishable in circumstance only by the fact that the

a written contract under the terms of this sec. sufficiency of the amount to be tendered in payment

other portions it may be supposed to operate musc be ascertained in the case of bullion by assay tion. I think the section will cause litigation. || injuriously. In those States of the Union where and the scales, while in the case of coin it may be In our State when a man purchases a bill of there is no gold, where the entire money of the ascertained by count. "We cannot suppose that it was intended by the

goods with the understanding that they are to country consists of paper currency, this section provisions of the currency ucts to enforce satisfaction

be paid for in gold he must pay in coin, and I would seem to be of some value, for it is inof either contract by tho tender of depreciated cur bave no doubt the Supreme Court will sustain tended to prevent usurious contracts; it is in. rency of any description, equivalent only in nominal such contracts. amount to the real value of the bullion or of the coin

The provisions and restric tended to prevent the oppression of the debtor dollars.

tions in this section will only be an embarrass. || by the creditor class of the country. "Oar conclusion, therefore, upon this part of the ment in the way of business, in my opinion, It might be very easily supposed that a per: case is that the bond under consideration was, in

In legal import, precisely what it was in the understand

and the section ought to be stricken out. son holding a mortgage upon the farm of another ing of the parties, a valid obligation, to be satisfied New York importers are constantly making man when the mortgage became due might by a tender of actual payment according to its terms, purchases in coin, and bills are made out on require that the contract should be renewed and pot by an offer of mere nominal payment. Its intent was that the debtor should deliver to the cred

ihat understanding. Why should not such con and made specifically payable in gold, and the itor a certain weight of gold and silver of a certain

tracts be enforced for payment in coin when | debtor, feeling that he was in the power of the finen oss, ascertainable by a countot coing made legal the purchaser accepts a bill of goods with a creditor and hoping that he might possibly be by statute, and this intent was lawful.”

clause that the bill is payable in gold coin | able to obtain the necessary gold when the new In that conclusion there is not one word of stamped or printed upon it? This section may contract should become due, enters into that limitation; there is no reference to a contract be considered as requiring both parties to sign arrangement and so puts himself in the power made before the legal-tender act or after the the contract, and questions may arise that will of the creditor. It is to prevent transactions leyal-tender act. The proposition is general, lead to great embarrassinent both in the At. of that kind, usurious in their nature, that this universal, applicable to all contracts before or lantic States where gold purchases are made section, as I understand, is incorporated into after, now or then. Such is the conclusion of and upon the Pacific coast.

the bill. In that respect it does possess some the majority of the court. If Senators remind This bill was passed through the Senate rather value; but in any other respect it is not necesyou that the case actually in trial was on a con: hastily at the last session in order that it might sary to enact affirmatively that any contracis tract anterior to the legal-tender act I know be acted upon and signed by the President be. made specifically payable in coin are valid and. well the force of that distinction ; but it can. fore the adjournment of Congress. This sec. legal, for the Supreme Court bas decided all not impair the essential reason on which the tion did not commend itself to my view and my such contracts are legal and valid. Therefore conclusion of the court is founded. That you judgment when it passed the Senate then; nor such legislation would be unnecessary; but it will find in the clause I have now read, and do I believe that it commended itself to a great may be desirable that the decision of the Suthai, I have reason to believe, is now consid. many other Senators who voted for the bill at

preme Court, so comprehensive as it seems to ered by the Supreme Court the law of the that time, but rather than lose the bill they | be, should be restricted and limited in view of land. If that be so, unless I am entirely mis. were willing to vote for it with this section in the circuinstances of the country, and as this taken in that conclusion, then under that ex it. Now we have time to consider the subject section seems to be regarded as objectionable isting law is every contract in gold valid at this carefully and act upon it deliberately, and the so far as the Pacific States are concerned I time to all intents and purposes. There is no more I reflect upon the subject and the more think an amendment such as I shall suggest occasion for any action of Congress in order I look at this section I am convinced that it would obviate any objection upon that ground. to give to it any additional validity.

will lead to great embarrassment and great The amendment would be to this effect: But, sir, when you propose to act according litigation. I hope it will be stricken out. Provided, That State laws making contracts parsto the terms of this second section you adu Mr. FERRY. Mr. President, I did not able in coin shall not be affected by this act. a limitation on the rule which the court have iniend to make any remark whatever in the pro So that our specific contract laws upon the already announced. They say all gold con gress of this discussion, as I did not at the last Pacific coast would not in any respect be affected tracts are valid; you undertake to say that only session. I have been always anxious that an by this act, and it would only apply to those certain gold contracts are valid. You step in

entire liberty of contracting in gold might be States where they have no specific contract to limit the liberty which by their decision is extended to the citizeu as early as possible. laws. I hope the amendment of the Senator to be secured to all citizens. To that extent In my judgment the decision of the Supreme from Nevada will not prevail,

Let us strike I think this section is open to criticism ; but Court bas accomplished that result; and this this section out altogether and let the law siand ibut is not all. When I was up before I veu. present second sectiou, it it accomplishes any as it has been decided by the Supreme Court,


I can

or else let us adhere to the section to restrict law. It is the different circumstances in which l of a year from this time we have no reason to the operation and effect of that decision so that these two classes are placed that have made believe that gold may not be higher than it is the debtor class of the country may receive some it necessary in every age and in every country We may put up the price of bonds by benefit from the provisions of the act.

for the Government to protect debtors against legislation, we may raise them in the market, Mr. STEWART. But for one consideration usurious interest.

but we do not thereby necessarily destroy or I should concur with the suggestion of the Sen. But now, sir, what is this? This presents decrease the premium on gold. Bonds have ator from Oregon to strike out the whole sec the greatest temptation to usury that has ever steadily gone up for three years and eig tion. The case that was before the Supreme been presented in any country, and in addition months, but gold has been fluctuating, and is Court was one arising before the passage of the to that it presents a temptation to gambling. now higher than it was nearly four years ago, legal tender act, although the reasoning of the Contracts made to be executed in coin at a time while bonds on the average have risen neariy Court is, as stated by the Senator from Massa when the currency is depreciated twenty.tive twenty-five per cent. Sir, as long as this uncer chusetts, broad enough to cover the whole or thirty per cent. present the strongest pos tain condition of things shall exist in regard to grouud. The case decided was a contract made sible temptation to gambling, simple gold gam our currency, until we have taken some steps prior to the enactment of the legal-tender law, bling, as we have it now in the city of New that shall insure a gradual but steady appreso that the decision is not authority for all cases York. A wants to lend B $1,000; it is in cur ciation of the value of our currency, and a of gold contracts. It is not anthority so that rency. B wants the money very badly. A says, steady decrease in the premium on gold, men the courts would be bound to be governed by it; “I will not lend this to you for six per cent. cannot safely make contracts of that kind; and but it indicates very clearly what the Supreme or ten per cent. payable in currency, but I will is the duty of Congress to extend its protecCourt will decide when the question comes be lend it to you for six per cent. payable in coin.” tion to the great debtor class of this country. fore them as to a gold contract made since the He thinks that gold wiil be higher when the Surely we have done enough in the other direcpassage of the law.

contract falls due than it is then. B, perhaps, tion. More cannot be asked of us. The object in having a declaration of this is one of those men who think that the opera Now, sir, in regard to the decision of the kind, the importance of it, only consists in set tion of natural causes is bringing about a re Supreme Court of the United States, I believe tling this matter at once and not waiting for a turn to specie payments very rapidly, and he it is in conflict with the decision of every new case to come up or several new cases in thinks gold will be much cheaper on the day

supreme court of every State that has passed which all the variety of propositions that may that contract is to fail due than it is the day

upon that question. So far as I know all the arise under the legal-tender act shall be pre when it is inade, and he agrees to pay in coin

supreme courts of the several States that have sented to the court. In this respect it seems to at that time. What is it but a simple bet upon || had occasion to consider that question have me there is importance in a declaration that the price of gold on the day when that contract held that contracts to be specifically executed in people may make their own contracts.

is to be performed ? How does it differ from coin could not be enforced under the several conceive no possible good in opening all con ten thousand contracts made in the city of New laws creating the legal-tender notes. I con tracts to litigation. I undertake to predict that Yorkto-day upon that very question? One man fess my surprise at the decision of the Supreme this section as reported by the coinmittee, if seils $100,000 in gold to be delivered in thirty Court of the United States. Of course we subenacted, will occupy the attention of the courts days. He is of the impression that at the end mit to it; but we have it in our power to limit throughout the United States for the next two of thirty days gold will be cheaper. Another

its disastrous effects, and we ought to do so. years in giving it a construction; perhaps four man is of the opinion that gold will be dearer || Why, Mr. President, if you will look into the years. It will bave to go to the Supreme Court at the end of thirty days, and he buys. It is a decision of the supreme court of the State of of the United States to acquire a construction simple bet in regard to the price of gold at the Indiana-and I think we have got as able a as to what it means. It will cost a great deal end of that time, and the simple difference is

court as any of the States--and I think into more money to litigate it and ascertain its to be paid when the time arrives, not that the the decisions of the court of appeals of the meaning in all the courts and cause a great deal | gold itself is to be delivered. It is in its nature State of New York, and perhaps of Pennsyl. more hardship to the business community than and it will be in its effect gold gambling, and vania, you will find much of the reasoning of it would to leave them to find their legal status that is all there is of it.

the court to depend upon the danger to result without any legislation defining it as the Su But, sir, where it is not of that nature it will

to the debtor class from allowing contracta preme Court has indicated it would define it. be in the nature of usury, and of the most ex: specifically to be executed in coin to be en: That will come if we have no legislation at all; tortionate, of the most oppressive character. forced while the currency remained depre. but it is well to have an explicit declaration When we come to specie payments all con ciated. You cannot expose the debtor class that people can make their own contracts pay. tracts will be executed in coin or its equivalent,

to a greater danger than that. Now that the able in whatever they please, and that those and it will require no law on that subject, Supreme Court of the United States has overcontracts shall be enforced according to their because that is the simple effect of bringing up ruled the decisions of all the State courts, determs. My amendment accomplishes that pur. your currency to par; but until the currency is

claring all contracts of that kind to be legal, pose.

brought up to par, in my opinion there ought Mr. MORTON. I am in favor of the second

and Congress has the power to limit the disnot to be, especially for the loan of currency, astrous etlects of that decision, and we have section as it stands for the reason that it is a a legalization of contracts to be executed in

the question before us, I trust if this bill is to limitation upon the right to make coin con coin. No man can safely make a contract of

pass at all it will contain the provision of the tracts as established by the recent decision of that kind. The wisest gold gambler in New second section as it originally came from the the Supreme Court of the United States. There York cannot it to-day. It may turn out that

committee. can be no doubt that that decision does in he will make money by agreeing to pay coin at Mr. STEWART. I cannot see how Seneffect recognize the validity of all contracts to the end of a year or it may turn out that he

ators can arrive at the conclusion that this be executed in coin, provided they are other. will be almost ruined by it. It is a matter of wise legal; and I think it is very important to

is to benefit the debtor class. If you are to entire uncertainty. While the volume of the the country to establish some limit to this gen

resume specie payments you require all the currency continues the same, if his contract

debtor class to pay their contracts, or those eral power of making contracts payable in coin is to be executed in currency at that time the while our currency is depreciated. I know it

that shall remain unpaid at that time in gold. rise or the fall of gold does not materially affect is a common and popular argument to say, him, because he is to pay so much money in so

If they remodel their present paper contracts " let men make contracts just as they please;

for themselves I do not think they will make much paper; but while the currency is tiuctuatwhy not give the people liberty to make just | ing in its value a contract to be executed in

an agreement that will be harsher than resumpsuch contracts as they please, whether to be

tion. That is not possible. Bui we say, we coin cannot be safely made by any man. executed in coin or paper?" Well, Mr. Presi But how will it be throughout the country if

want to give them an opportunity of making dent, the experience of the world is against this decision of the Supreme Court shall stand

agreements that will be lighter for them. We that argument. The experience of mankind unlimited ? The man who must borrow to save

want to give them an opportunity to make has shown the necessity of protecting the debtor

agreements to pay a less ainount in gold, so as his property or to save his family from ruin class against usury. That has been the expe will think something will turn up at the end of

to prepare for resumption; and while this aet rience in every age and in every country; and six months or a year by which he can get out

cannot possibly benefit the debtor class, this yet there have been at all times a class of men of his trouble ; he will think that perhaps by

incumbrance that is placed in the midst of this who were opposed to all usury laws. They that time we may return to specie payments, or

section I can see is going to load the couutry said, just as has been said here this morning | he can make some happy turn; he will trust to

with litigation. The section reads : on the floor of the Senate, “men have a right fortune, and as the money-lender who takes

That any contract hereaftor made specifically pay. to make contracts just as they please; if they advantage of the man in distress will say to

able in coin, and the consideration of which may be

a loan of coin, or a sale of property, or the renderwant to make a contract to pay twenty-five per him, "You can only have money upon the con. ing of labor or servico of any kind, the price of whicb > cent. interest they have a right to do it;"' but dition of paying me coin at the end of the time,'

as carried into the contract may have been adjusted the experience of the world has demonstrated he will enter into it, and when the time comes

on the basis of the coin value thereof at the time of

such sale or the rendering of such service or labir. the necessity of protecting the debtor class | gold, perhaps, may be dearer than it was when sball be legal and valid, and may be enforced accord: against usurious and extortionate contracts. the contract was made, and he will be ruined. ing to its terms. The circumstances surrounding the debtor I know some people think because the bonds Suppose a promissory note is given payable class, the borrowing class, and those surround are going up that gold is going down. Sir, || in coin, and in the course of ordinary com. ing tbe lending class are very different. A man there is no well-grounded reason to think so, mercial transactions it passes into the hands in straitened circumstances will often agree in my opinion. Gold was 129 in the market of of a third party. Can the maker of the pote to pay ten, twenty, or even forty per cent. New York three years and eight months ago, set up the defenses here set forth? What kind interest; and the grinding lender will extort and now it is 132. Since that time it has been of a question would that raise? It would be it from him if he is allowed to do so by the up to 160, and it has been down. At the end I litigated to determine wbether he could make

such a defense or not, and you would have the Mr. SUMNER. On that question I ask for The PRESIDING OFFICER, (Mr. An. country full of law-suits of that character at the veas and nays.

THONY in the chair.) The question is on the ouce, and various other law-suits that I can con

yeas and
nays were ordered.

amendment offered by the Senator from Ohio, ceive of. Will any lawyer pretend to say that Mr. SPRAGUE. I shall vote for the strik and npon which he asks for the yeas and nays. an innocent bolder of a negotiable note can ing out of this proposition, as I am told that The yeas and nays were ordered. have it set up against him that the considera if the second section is stricken out it will be

Mr. COLE. I am paired on all questions on tion was uot a loan of coin or the sale of prop. difficult to secure the passage of the bill in the this bill that may arise during his absence erty? The Senator from Ohio very properly House of Representatives; but without express with the Senator from Vermont, [Mr. Ep. says that innocent purchasers without notice | ing any other opinion about it.

MUNDS.] I would bave voted for this amend. hold negotiable instruments free from all these

Mr. CARPENTER. I do not desire to in

ment and he would have voted agaiust it. embarrassments. I think that would be true. Then of how much use is this clause? Cannot flict upon the Senate a speech on the merits

The question being taken by yeas and nays, men make all their paper negotiable where

of this bill; but as a matter of justice to myself | resulted-yeas 12, nays 31; as follows: they make their contracts? How much pro

I wish to explain the ground of the votes I shall YEAS-Messrs. Bayard, Boreman, Casserly. Morgive on this bill.

ton, Norton, Osborn, Pratt, Ross, Sprague, Stockton, tection will it be, then, to the debtor class ?

Thurman, and Vickers-12. Mr. SHERMAN. That is the way now if

The decision of the Supreme Court was made NAYS--Messrs. Abbott, Anthony, Brownlow, Car

upon a contraet which was entered into before penter, Conkling, Corbett, Cragin, Drake, Trenton, the Senator chooses to give me his note now

Ferry, Gilbert, Grimes, Hamlin, Ilarris, Kellogg, the passage of the legal-tender act, and the for $1,000 without any consideration and I

McDonald, Morrill, Nye, Patterson, Ramsey, Sawyer, court simply held as matter in judgment that Schurz, Scott, Sherman, Stewart, Sumner, Tipton, transfer it.

that contract called for gold and that they Trumbull. Warner, Williams, and Wilson-31. Mr. STEWART. So I understand the law. would render a judgment upon it payable in

ABSENT- Messrs. Buckingham, Cameron, Cattell, Then it is no protection whatever so far as

Chandler, Cole, Davis, Edmunds, Fessenden, Fowler, gold ; but the reasoning of the court covers Ilarlan, Howard, Howe, McCreery, Pomeroy, Pool, Degotiable paper is concerned. It is merely || the whole case; and that is that where any Rice, Robertson, Saulsbury, Spencer, Tbayer, Wila blind; and in regard to such paper, where contract is entered into payable in coin the

ley, and Yates-22. this defense can be set up, it will simply involve courts will enforce it as such. This section

So the amendment was rejected. law-suits ; it will trammel trade; and it does seem to ine that the decision of the Supreme | two classes of contracts, that class specified seems to me to accomplish nothing. Here are

Mr. MORTON. I move to amend the first

section by striking out in the twelfth and thirCourt has gone far to relieve the debtor class

in the section and all other classes. The teenth lines the words “authorizing the issue to enable them to compound with their credit

common law, as declared by the Supreme || of any such obligation." As the section now ors and agree to pay in gold and be prepared

Court, says that all these contracts shall be reads it excepts from the obligation to pay in for the day of resumption.

valid. This section, by simply saying that one coin except in cases where the law authorizMr. CORBETT. It seems to me that in.

class shall be valid without employing negative || ing the issue of any such obligation has exstead of making haste to restrict the decision

words applicable to the other class, accom pressly provided that the same may be paid in of the Supreme Court we ought to wait a short plishes nothing. It affirms only a part of the lawful money or other currency than gold and time and see the effect of that decision upon decision of the Supreme Court, which needs silver." the country. We may leave it open and let

no affirmance at our hands, and does not neg. The only exception is where the law authorthe various States make their contracts in coin

ative the conclusion of the Supreme Court as izing the issue of the particular obligation exif they choose or in legal-tender notes. It has

to the other contracts. I shall therefore vote pressly makes it payable in currency or other always been left to the States to decide what

for the proposition of the Senator from Nevada inoney than gold and silver. By striking out is usury and what is not usury. In my opin

to strike out the words moved by him to be the words that I propose it will read thus: ion if a contract is made now payable in gold stricken out. When that is accomplished the And of all the interest-bearing obligations of the and the maker of the obligation sets up that it section will then say just what the Supreme United States, except in cases where the law has exwas usurious, that the other party only fur Court has said ; and I shall vote to strike out

pressly provided that thesame may be paid in lawful nished him with legal-tender notes, that is a the whole section for that reason.

money or other currency than gold and silver. question for the State courts to decide. Let the The VICE PRESIDENT. The question

So that if there is any law outside of the State courts decide what are usurious contracts now is on striking out the second section. The

one creating the obligation that authorizes cerand cases of usury as they have always done, amendment of the Senator from Nevada was

tain obligations to be paid in currency they and let the contracts be made as they can be decided in the negative.

shall be excepted. This section makes no according to the decision of the Supreme Court, either in coin or in currency, as the parties

The Chief Clerk proceeded to call the roll.

exception now except where the law creating Mr. WILLEY. "I am paired ou this question

tbe obligation provides that it sball be paid in choose. By striking out the second section with the Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. Mc.

currency; but by striking out the words that I that question is left entirely open to every State. Creery.) If he were here I should vote anay."

propose to strike out, it the law creating the What is usurious in New York would not be

Mr. COLE, (after voting in the affirmative.)

obligation is silent as to the kind of money in usurious in Oregon. There we allow a greater I ask leave to withdraw my vote. I am paired

wbich it shall be paid, but there is another rate of interest than they do in New York. with the Senator from Vermont, [Mr. Ed.

law that authorizes it to be paid in currency, Our rate of interestisten per cent. per annum; MUNDS.] It be were here he would vote against

it may be so paid. In other words, there are in New York it is seven per cent.

Let each
striking out the section and I would vote for it.

four of five acts of Congress authorizing the State decide that question for itself. Where


issue of bonds that are silent as to the kind of money is scarce, where trade is profitable, a from California asks leave to withdraw his

money in which they shall be paid. Those larger rate of interest can be collected. I de. vote. The Chair bears no objection.

acts say that the interest shall be paid in coin; sire to leave this question entirely with the The result was announced-yeas 28, nays

but they are silent as to the mode in which the · various States as it always has been left here. 15 ; as follows:

principal may be paid. I am anxious to have tofore. Then it resolves itself back simply to

the bonds paid in gold or its equivalent, and

YEAS–Messrs. Bayard, Boreman, Carpenter, Casthe question of contracts made in coin or legal

that will be the result when we return to specie serly, Conkling, Corbett, Cragin, Ferry, Fessenden. tender notes. Let parties make them as they Gilbert, Harris, Kellogg, McDonald, Norton, Nye, payments, as I hope we soon shall; but when choose, and as to that questiou of usury let us

Pratt, Robertson, Sawyer, Schurz, Scott, Sprague, I am asked to say that it is the original law of

Stewart, Stockton, Sumner, Thurman, Trumbull, leave it where it has always been left heretoVickers, and Wilson--28.

the contract creating some of the bonds I fore. I hope therefore we shall strike out this NAYS — Messrs. Abbott, Anthony, Brownlow, cannot do it without changing my convictions second section. I see no harm to result from Drake, Grimes, II: mlin. Morrill, Morton, Osborn, as to the construction of the statutes which

Patterson, Ramsey, Ross, Sherman, Warner, and striking it out. The ruling established by the Williams--15.

I have entertained from the first. decision made by the Supreme Court has ex. ABSENT-Messrs. Buckingham, Cameron, Cattell, There are four separate acts of Congress isted in the States on the Pacific coast for the Chandler, Cole, Davis, Edmunds, Fenton, Fowler | creating the United States notes that define past seven years. We have legal-tender notes Rice, Saulsbury, Spencer, Thayer, Tipton, Willey,

the office of those notes and provide to what in circulation there, and parties make contracts and Yates-22.

obligations they shall be applicable. The office payable in legal tenders or in gold as they So the motion to strike out the second section of the legal-tender note, in its capacity to pay choose. We have found that it has worked was agreed to.

debts, is not determined by any of the acts well, that it has tended to keep the coin in the Mr. THURMAN. Is it in order now to

creating the bonds except one, and that is what country; and it will assist this portion of the move to amend the first section ?

is called the ten-forty act, which provides excountry eventually to return to specie payments The VICE PRESIDENT. It is.

pressly that the principal shall be paid in gold; whenever you inaugurate the system of cuin Mr. THURMAN. I find, Mr. President,

but as to what debts the legal-tender notes may contracts, which you do by leaving it just as that there is some diversity of opinion as to

pay is left to the acts creating those notes and the Supreme Court has already decided. I am the scope of this section. Some Senators sup

is not provided for in the acts creating the therefore in favor of striking out the second section entirely. pose it contains no pledge to pay what are

bonds. To determine by law the question as to

what debts may be paid in legal.tender notes we The VICE PRESIDENT. The question others suppose that it covers those bonds. In usually called the five-twenty bonds in coin;

must look to the several acts of Congress creatis on the amendment offered by the Senator from Nevada, [Mr. STEWART.]

order to ascertain distinctly the view of the ing those notes. The first act is that of FebThe anendment was rejected. Senate upon that question I offer the following

ruary 25, 1862, creating the first $150,000,000, The VICE PRESIDENT. The question proviso to that section, and upon it I ask for

and it contains this provision : the yeas and nays:

"And such notes berein authorized shall be rerecurs on the motion of the Senator from

ceivable in payment of all taxes, internal duties, Massachusetts to strike out the second section

Provided. That nothing herein contained sball excises, debts, and deinands of every kind due to the of the bill. apply to the obligations commonly called five-twenty United States, except duties on imports, and of all

claijus and demuuds against the United States”


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