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The committee on Banks to whom was referred several Tesolutions respecting Banks, also so much of the Governors message relating to the same subject, together with the reports of the Union Bank, Central Bank, Pensacola Bank, and Commercial Bank, beg leave to report,
That in the fulfilment of their duties they have examined all the laws of this Territory, creating Banks, amending the charters granted, or otherwise respecting such corporate institutions.
The first act passed by the Legislative Council was “an Act to incorporate the Bank of Florida," passed November 22d 1828 by the requisite majority against the veto of the Governor. "The act to incorporate the Bank of Florida, and to repeal the act passed 22d November 1828," was passed Nov. 17th 1829, also agsinst the veto of the Governor. This Bank was given a capital of $600,000, of which 1000 shares of $100 each, was secured till 1st Jan. 1840, for the use of a seminary of Learning, to be established by the Territory:
The charter is to expire the 1st Jan. 1850. The tax imposed by the charter is stated in the 14th rule, thereof, shall be 3 per centum on the profits, and it is stipulated that no other tax on the stock of the Bank shall at any time be laid. The management of this Bank while under the control of its first President, was greatly complained of by the community, and it was alledged it was conducted exclusively with a view to the private emolument of the stockholders and not for the advancement of the prosperity and promotion of the interests and convenience of the public, for whose benefit it was chartered. The excitement against this Bank, caused the Legislative Council a short time after it went into operation to institute a scrutiny respecting it, and also induced in a great degree the creation of the Central Bank of Florida, in 1832, which soon after purchased up the stock of the former and all its property, and charter. Since that time no issues have been made of the paper of the Bank of Florida, and its charter is only used by the Central Bank, in which it is now merged to wind up its affairs. Although the committee are entirely satisfied, that while the charter is in the hands of those who now own it, no improper use would be made of it; they must acquiesce in the remarks of Gov. Duval, in his mesşage to the Legislative Council in 183 rejecting amends
anents increasing the capital of the Central Bank, that it is impolitic and unwise, that charters of this character should be permitted to remain dormant, to be awakened only where the interests of its owner may demand its use without reference to the convenience of the community at large. Non user is a well recognised ground for taking away a charter. It is, and should be a legal forfeiture of it. Charters are not granted for private interests or convenience merely; but for the public and general good, and it is a mistaken opinion, but believed to be generally entertained, and practised upon by Bank proprietors and officers, that the contrary, is the correct doctrine. In 1833 the charter was amended, not however in important particulars. No returns have been submitted to the committee from this Bank, and it is believed none has been made as required by law. The committee have in the bill they report herewith inserted a section with respect to this charter, in accordance with the views above expressed.
The Bank of West Florida was chartered Nov. 17th 1829 also after rejecture by the Governor. Its charter was to have been in force till 1st Jan. 1850. By the 14th section it was liable to pay the same taxes as other banks in the Territory. Its capital was $ amendments were made to it the same session, amendments were again made in Feb. 1831 against the veto of the Governor. In 1832 this charter was again amended. In 1833 although the Bank had exploded upon the faith of the most solemn promises to the Legislative Council that its paper should be redeemed, additional amendments were allowed increasing its capital to one million of dollars. It does not appear that the credulity or complaisance of the Legislative Council has been extended any farther since that time, and in fact the pledges made having been violated and thousands of dollars of the notes of this Bank remaining un-redeemed, and the Bank appearing to have no fixed or permanent abiding place, subsequent Legislatures directed proceedings to be instituted to recover its violated, lost, and tugutive charter. Obedience to these directions have been neglected, and no proceedings have been instituted. This charter is defunct from un suser as well as non user. The Bank is not to be found in the Territory, no return has been made from it for several years. · Although the committee have been informed certain persons formerly stockholders, and still claiming to own the charter, have been endeavoring to effect a sale of it. The committee have inserted a section in the bill reported, to annul this charter, and authorizing proceedings against the stockholders for the outstanding debts.
Justice and a due regard for the reputation of Florida dis. graced by the managers of this concern imperatively demands this course from the Council. In 1831 the Bank of St. Augustine was chartered against the veto of the Governor, but it never went into operation, and the law is not now in force.
In 1831, the act incorporating the Bank of Pensacola was passed against the veto of the Governor. Its capital was $200,000. The charter contains no provision or prohibition in regard to taxes. The only stipulation in the charter for the benefit of the Territory, is the reservation of $25,000 of its stock for its subscription ten years. Amendments were made to this charter in 1892, and also in 1833 (the last extending the time of subscription) against the Governor's veto. Another amendment was made in 1834–in 1835 the capital was increased to $2,500,000, the establishment of branches authorised on the part of the Bank and it invested with pow‘er to issue notes and other liabilities, payable at such branches, as may be deemed expedient. The Governor was authorised to loan to this Bank the guarantee of the Territory for $500,000 of its bonds to be issued upon certain conditions, two thirds of the proceeds of which are to be appropriated in the creation of a Rail Road to Pensacola and the other third to be applied to Banking purposes, but no dividends to be made until the bonds are paid. No bond was given or other equivalent made, for the charter or for the aforesaid guaranty, nor any security but the hypothecation of the stock of the Bank and Rail-Road. A tax should be paid by this Bank, and the committee have inserted a provision in the bill reported, for that purpose. An Agency of this bank has been established at Apalachicola, but it does not pay specie.
In 1832 the Central Bank of Florida, was incorporated against the executive veto. Its capital was $1,000,000, and the duration of its charter extended till 1850. This Bank is in good credit and is judiciously managed, and there can be no doubt of its continuance in sound condition, while under the same control as at present. It has asked for certain amendments to its charter, in regard to which, a bill has been reported to the Council.
The committee conceive the charter is open to all amendments when before the House, on the application of the corporation, if the power of the Council could be doubted otherwise.
In 1832 the Merchants and Planters Bank of Magnolia, was incorporated with a capital of $600,000. It got a short time after into the hands of some speculators from an adjoining State, and in January 1834, broke, but notwithstanding upon the most solemn pledges, as in the case of the Bank of
West Florida, of speedy redemption of its paper, a suppler. mentary Act amending the charter was passed within a fortnight afterwards against the veto of the Governor. These pledges have never been redeemed, and thuusands of dollars of the worthless notes of this Institution are unpaid, in the hands of our suffering citizens. The 'committee have inserted a clause in the bill reported, in regard to this Bank, similar to that with respect to the Bank of West Florida, and if it were possible to pass en post facto laws for the punishment of those concerned in the frauds perpetuated by means of that charter, they would do so without hesitation. In 1833, the Commercial Bank of Florida, was incorporated. Its capital was $500,000, and by its charter, it is liable to a tax of two per centum on its nett profits, and no other tax. It is in operation at St. Joseph, and of undoubted credit and solvency.
In 1834 the Farmers Bank of Florida, was chartered, with a capital of $75,000, against the Governor's veto. It is to pay the same rate of taxés as other Banks in the Territory: Some time in the year 1835, a few persons residing it is said in Perry, Houston county, Georgia, either bought, borrowed or begged this charter, of those who claimed to own it, and have, as is contended, put it in operation. The principal operations of the Bank, it is said, are really carried on in the county of Georgia above named. Its head quarters are there. Neither the President or Cashier reside or have ever resided in Florida, and if there is a board of Directors or Officers at Marianna, the pretended place of its location, they have been made for form sake aud are merely nominal. There never has been a return made from this Bank as required by law or any tax paid. The resolution of the last session, directing procceedings against this Bank, has not been obejed, and your committee believe the most eligible mode of action and ihat called for by the honor and reputation of the Territory, 'too loudly to be disregarded, is at once to wrest the prostituted charter from the hands of its possessors, and to abrogate it, and they have reported a law for that purbose.
The Bank of Jacksonville was chartered in 1835, with a capital of $75,000, and liable to the same tax as other Banks. It has not gone into operation. In 1833, the Union Bank of Florida, was chartered. Its capital is authorized to be $1000 000, with the privilege of increasing it to $3000,000, and is raised by the sale of Territorial bonds, loaned to them: such bonds have been given to the amount of $ The Territory is secured by hypothecation of lands and slaves of the Stockholders, at a valuation graduated so as to be a suffi.
cient pledge in any probable event. By section 25th, the capital stock of said Bank is exempted from taxes of all kinds but by the 23d section, one half of all profits after payment of bonds, accrues to this Territory, in consideration of its aid in raising the capital, and which by section 36, is to be applied exclusively to the establishment of Schools, Colleges &c. Amendments were passed to this charter in 1835, and 1836, and an application for other alterations, is now pending before the Council. This Institution has been of great public benefit, and is believed will continue to be, while controlled by its present Officers. The committee have not thought it consistent with their duties to call on the Board of irectors and advise with them in regard to the matters proposed in the communication referred to the committee, and have therefore not had the benefit of their counsels. An Agency of this Bank, has been established at Appalachicola, and since changed to St. Joseph, but it does not pay specie. The annexed law contains all he legislation deemed necessary,
In 1835 the Southern Life Insurance and Trust company, was chartered with powers and privileges of the most extensive and diversified character. Its capital is $2000,000, with the privilege of increasing it to $4000,000. It is directed to report to the Court of Appeals annually, which report is to be made to Council. No such report has ever been made, or any other. By the 20th section of this chartér, the capital Stock of said Bank is to be taxed at the same rate as all other personal property of the Territory, but the tax is not to exceed $5,000. The Territorial guarantee is to be given on the bonds of the corporation under certain conditions, $ of these bonds have been thus guaranteed. This Bank claims to be located at St. Augustine, but it is said, is chiefly conducted in New-York, and has an Agency at Appalachicola. No tax has ever been paid, and the committee are totally in the dark in regard to the capital or other affairs of the Bank, in consequence of the neglect to make returns according to its charter and the general law of 1833.
At the last session of the Council, the St. Joseph's Banking Company and the Florida Insurance and Banking company at Pensacola, and the St Joseph Insurance company, (without Banking privileges) were chartered, but the national Legislature thought proper upon the representation, and through the influence of the Delegate from Florida, to anuul those charters, and pass a law prohibiting all charters of Banks unless sanctioned by the national Legislature. This course on the part of Congress, is not such as the people of this Territory had a right to expect, relying as they have