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titled “An Act to regulate the Collection of Duties imposed by Law on the Tonnage of Ships or Vessels, and on Goods, Wares, and Merchandises, imported into the United States," approved July thirty-one, seventeen hundred and eighty-nine, it was provided that all fees and dues collected by virtue of that act should be received in gold and silver coin only; and whereas, also, by the fifth section of the act approved May ten, eighteen hundred, entitled “An Act to amend the Act entitled 'An Act providing for the sale of the Lands of the United States in the Territory North-west of the Ohio, and above the Mouth of the Kentucky River, it was provided that payment for the said lands shall be made by all purchasers in specie, or in evidences of the public debt; and whereas, experience has proved that said provisions ought to be revived and enforced, according to the true and wise intent of the constitution of the United States.-
Sec. 18. Be it further enacted, That on the first day of January, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven, and thereafter, all duties, taxes, sales of public lands, debts, and sums of money accruing or becoming due to the United States, and also all sums due for postages or otherwise, to the general post-office department, shall be paid in gold and silver coin only, or in treasury notes issued under the authority of the United States: Provided, That the Secretary of the Treasury shall publish, monthly, in two newspapers at the city of Washington, the amount of specie at the several places of deposit, the amount of treasury notes or drafts issued, and the amount outstanding on the last day of each month.
Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That on the first day of April, one thousand eight hundred and fortyseven, and thereafter, every officer or agent engaged in making disbursements on account of the United States, or of the general post-office, shall make all payments in
gold and silver coin, or in treasury notes, if the creditor agree to receive said notes in payment; and any receiving or disbursing officer or agent who shall neglect, evade, or violate, the provisions of this and the last preceding section of this act, shall, by the Secretary of the Treasury, be immediately reported to the President of the United States, with the facts of such neglect, evasion, or violation; and also to Congress, if in session; and if not in session, at the commencement of its session next after the violation takes place.
SEC. 20. And be it further enacted, That no exchange of funds shall be made by any disbursing officers or agents of the government, of any grade or denomination whatsoever, or connected with any branch of the public service, other than an exchange for gold and silver; and every such disbursing officer, when the means for his disbursements are furnished to him in gold and silver, shall make his payments in the money so furnished; or when those means are furnished to him in drafts, shall cause those drafts to be presented at their place of payment, and properly paid according to the law, and shall make his payments in the money so received for the drafts furnished, unless, in either case, he can exchange the means in his hands for gold and silver at par. And it shall be and is hereby made the duty of the head of the proper department immediately to suspend from duty any disbursing officer who shall violate the provisions of this section, and forthwith to report the name of the officer or agent to the President, with the fact of the violation, and all the circumstances accompanying the same, and within the knowledge of the said Secretary, to the end that such officer or agent may be promptly removed from office, or restored to his trust and the performance of his duties, as to the President may seem just and proper: Provided, however, That those disbursing officers having at present credits in the bank shall, until the first day of January next,
be allowed to check on the same, allowing the public creditors to receive their pay from the banks either in specie or bank notes.
SEC. 21. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to issue and publish regulations to enforce the speedy presentation of all government drafts for payment at the place where payable, and to prescribe the time, according to the different distances of the depositaries from the seat of government, within which all drafts upon them, respectively, shall be presented for payment; and, in default of such presentation, to direct any other mode and place of payment which he may deem proper; but, in all these regulations and directions, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to guard, as far as may be, against those drafts being used or thrown into circulation as a paper currency or medium of exchange. And no officer of the United States shall, either directly or indirectly, sell or dispose to any person or persons or corporations, whatsoever, for a premium, any treasury note, draft, warrant, or other public security, not his private property, or sell or dispose of the avails or proceeds of such note, draft, warrant, or security, in his hands for disbursement, without making return of such premium, and accounting therefor by charging the same in his accounts to the credit of the United States; and any officer violating this section shall be forthwith dismissed from office.
The Wilmot Provisos, 1846-47
These celebrated amendments were first moved on August 8, 1846. A bill was under consideration in the Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, House of Representatives, entitled “An Act making further provision for the expenses attending the intercourse between the United States and foreign nations," when David Wilmot moved the amendment. This was adopted in the Committee of the Whole and then in the House, but the Senate adjourned without taking final action. On February 8, 1847, when the “Three-million bill was under consideration in the House Committee of the Whole, Mr. Wilmot moved his second amendment, which the Committee adopted. The Senate passed a similar bill and when it came to the House Mr. Wilmot again attempted to have his amendment inserted, but failed. The Senate bill without the amendment became a law. Text from “Congressional Globe.” (See page 123.)
FIRST WILMOT PROVISO
Text of First Wilmot Proviso from the “Congressional Globe," Twenty-ninth Congress, First Session, Vol. XV., p. 1217.
Provided, that as an express and fundamental condition to the acquisition of any territory from the republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any