Page images
PDF
EPUB

in which the defendant resides or is found, without respect to the amount in controversy, and shall recover three fold the damages by him sustained, and the costs of suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee.

SEC. 8. That the word "person," or "persons," wherever used in this act shall be deemed to include corporations and associations existing under or authorized by the laws of either the United States, the laws of any of the Territories, the laws of any State, or the laws of any foreign country.

No. 182.

Silver Purchase Act

July 14, 1890

In his annual message of December 3, 1889, President Harrison called attention to the decline in the market price of silver, and expressed fear of the effect of a further decline on the value of gold and silver dollars in commercial transactions. The accompanying report of the Secretary of the Treasury proposed the issue of treasury notes "against deposits of silver bullion at the market price of silver when deposited, payable on demand in such quantities of silver bullion as will equal in value, at the date of presentation, the number of dollars expressed on the face of the notes at the market price of silver, or in gold, at the option of the Government, or in silver dollars at the option of the holder"; together with "the repeal of the compulsory feature of the present coinage act." A bill authorizing the issue of treasury notes on deposits of silver bullion was introduced in the House January 20, 1890, by E. H. Conger of Iowa, and referred to the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. The bill was reported April 9. Another bill directing the purchase of silver bullion and the issue of treasury notes thereon was introduced by Conger April 24, and referred; June 5 an amended form of this bill was substituted for the bill already before the House, and the bill passed, the vote being 135 to 119, 73 not voting. In the meantime a bill prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury, in accordance with the recommendations of his annual report, had been introduced in the Senate January 20, by Morrill of Vermont, by request, had been taken up March 31, and was under consideration when the House bill was received. June 13 the House bill was substituted for the bill before the Senate. On the 17th a free coinage amendment, offered by Plumb of Kansas, was agreed to by a vote of 43 to 24, and the amended bill passed, the final vote being 42 to 25, 17 not voting. The House disagreed to the Senate amendments, and a conference committee settled the final form of the bill. The report of the committee was agreed to by the Senate July 10, by a vote of 39 to 26, and by the House July 12, by a vote of 122 to 90, 116 not voting. So much of the act as provided for the

purchase of silver bullion and the issue of notes thereon was repealed by the act of November 1, 1893 [No. 183].

REFERENCES.-Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XXVI., 289, 290. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 51st Cong., 1st Sess., and the Cong. Record. The texts of the bills of April 24 and June 5 are in the Record, June 7, House proceedings. On Conger's bill of January 29 see House Report 1086. On the amount of coinage under the act see Senate Doc. 163, 55th Cong., 2d Sess.

An act directing the purchase of silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and for other purposes.

... "

Be it enacted. That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby directed to purchase, from time to time, silver bullion to the aggregate amount of four million five hundred thousand ounces, or so much thereof as may be offered in each month, at the market price thereof, not exceeding one dollar for three hundred and seventy-one and twenty-five hundredths grains of pure silver, and to issue in payment for such purchases of silver bullion Treasury notes of the United States to be prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury, in such form and of such denominations, not less than one dollar nor more than one thousand dollars, as he may prescribe...

SEC. 2. That the Treasury notes issued in accordance with the provisions of this act shall be redeemable on demand, in coin, at the Treasury of the United States, or at the office of any assistant treasurer of the United States, and when so redeemed may be reissued; but no greater or less amount of such notes shall be outstanding at any time than the cost of the silver bullion and the standard silver dollars coined therefrom, then held in the Treasury purchased by such notes; and such Treasury notes shall be a legal tender in payment of all debts, public and private, except where otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract, and shall be receivable for customs, taxes, and all public dues, and when so received may be reissued; and such notes, when held by any national banking association, may be counted as a part of its lawful reserve. That upon demand of the holder of any of the Treasury notes herein provided for the Secretary of the Treasury shall, under such regulations as he may prescribe, redeem such notes in gold or silver coin, at his discretion, it being the established policy of the United States to maintain the two metals

on a parity with each other upon the present legal ratio, or such ratio as may be provided by law.

SEC. 3. That the Secretary of the Treasury shall each month coin two million ounces of the silver bullion purchased under the provisions of this act into standard silver dollars until . . . [July 1, 1891]. . ., and after that time he shall coin of the silver bullion purchased under the provisions of this act as much as may be necessary to provide for the redemption of the Treasury notes herein provided for, and any gain or seigniorage arising from such coinage shall be accounted for and paid into the Treasury.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

SEC. 5. That so much of the act of . . . [February 28, 1878] entitled "An act to authorize the coinage of the standard silver dollar and to restore its legal-tender character," as requires the monthly purchase and coinage of the same into silver dollars. of not less than two million dollars, nor more than four million dollars' worth of silver bullion, is hereby repealed.

[blocks in formation]

No. 183. Repeal of the Silver Purchase Act of 1890

November 1, 1893

A BILL to repeal the silver purchase act of July 14, 1890 [No. 182], was introduced in the House August 11, 1893, by William L. Wilson of West Virginia. A free coinage substitute was offered by Bland of Missouri. On motion of Bland it was agreed that the debate should continue for fourteen days, eleven days to be allotted to general debate under the rules of the last House, and the last three days to the consideration of the bill and amendments under the five-minute rule; that upon the close of the debate, votes should be taken in the following order: on free coinage of silver at the present ratio, then at the ratio of 17 to 1, then at the ratio of 18 to 1, then at the ratio of 19 to 1, and finally at the ratio of 20 to 1; and that in the event of these several votes resulting in the negative, the House should vote on an amendment to revive the so-called Bland-Allison act of February 28, 1878 [No. 178]. The bill was then taken up, and formed the principal subject of debate until August 28. The disastrous panic, due in part to the anxiety caused by the shrinkage of the gold reserve notwithstanding the rapid increase in the volume of silver certificates, made the debate one of extraordinary public

interest, while the advocates of silver carried on a vigorous agitation for free coinage in the event of a repeal of the compulsory purchase clause of the act of 1890. The votes taken August 28 resulted as follows: on the free coinage substitute, 125 to 226; on free coinage at the ratio of 17 to 1, 101 to 241; at 18 to 1, 103 to 240; at 19 to 1, 104 to 238; at 20 to 1, 122 to 222; on reviving the Bland-Allison act, 136 to 213. The bill was then read a third time and passed, the vote being 239 to 109, 5 not voting. The Senate had under consideration a bill to the same effect as the House bill, so far as repealing the purchase clause of the act of 1890 was concerned; August 29 this was reported by the Committee on Finance as a substitute for the House bill. The bill was not considered until October 30, when the substitute was agreed to and the bill passed, the final vote being 43 to 32. November 1, by a vote of 194 to 94, 65 not voting, the House concurred in the Senate amendment. A bill to "coin the seigniorage" was vetoed by President Cleveland May 27, 1894.

REFERENCES. Text in U. S. Statutes at Large, XXVIII., 4, 5. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 53d Cong., 1st Sess., and the Cong. Record. Practically every aspect of the silver question was touched on in the debate.

An Act to repeal a part of

...

[the Silver Purchase Act of July 14, 1890].

That so much of the

...

Be it enacted. . . [Silver Purchase Act of July 14, 1890]. . ., as directs the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase from time to time silver bullion to the aggregate amount of four million five hundred thousand ounces, or so much thereof as may be offered in each month at the market price thereof, not exceeding one dollar for three hundred and seventyone and twenty-five one-hundredths grains of pure silver, and to issue in payment for such purchases Treasury notes of the United States, be, and the same is hereby, repealed. And it is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to continue the use of both gold and silver as standard money, and to coin both gold and silver into money of equal intrinsic and exchangeable value, such equality to be secured through international agreement, or by such safeguards of legislation as will insure the maintenance of the parity in value of the coins of the two metals, and the equal power of every dollar at all times in the markets and in the payment of debts. And it is hereby further declared that the efforts of the Government should be steadily directed to the establishment of such a safe system of bimetallism as will maintain at all times the equal power of every dollar coined or issued by the United States, in the markets and in the payment of debts.

No. 184. Recognition of the Independence

of Cuba

April 20, 1898

In his annual message of December 6, 1897, President McKinley reviewed the course of the insurrection which had been in progress in Cuba since February, 1895, but opposed the recognition of Cuban belligerency. A resolution recognizing the independence of Cuba, being the same as the resolution finally adopted, but without the fourth section, was reported in the Senate April 13, 1898, by Cushman K. Davis of Minnesota, from the Committee on Foreign Relations. An amendment offered on the 16th by David Turpie of Indiana, recognizing the Republic of Cuba "as the true and lawful government of that island," was agreed to by a vote of 51 to 37; and, with the further addition of the fourth section, offered as an amendment by Davis, the resolution passed. A resolution directing the President to intervene to put an end to the war in Cuba "to the end and with the purpose of securing permanent peace and order there and establishing by the free action of the people thereof a stable and independent government of their own,” was reported in the House April 13, by Robert Adams of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as a substitute for numerous bills and resolutions previously submitted. A substitute recognizing the independence of the Republic of Cuba, offered by Albert S. Berry of Kentucky on behalf of the minority of the committee, was rejected by a vote of 150 to 190, and the resolution was agreed to, the final vote being 324 to 19. In the Senate, April 16, the House resolution was substituted for the resolution already before the Senate, and then amended by striking out the words of the House resolution and inserting the resolution of the Senate. On the 18th the House concurred with an amendment, offered by Nelson Dingley of Maine, striking out the clause recognizing the Republic of Cuba, the vote being 178 to 156. The Senate refusing to concur in the House amendment, the resolution went to a conference committee, which reported inability to agree, and a second committee settled the final form of the resolution. The report of the second committee was agreed to in the House by a vote of 311 to 6, and in the Senate by a vote of 42 to 35.

REFERENCES. Text in U. S. Statutes at Large, XXX., 738, 739. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 55th Cong., 2d Sess., and the Cong. Record. See also Senate Report 885; Senate Doc. 166 and Senate Report 1160, 54th Cong., 2d Sess.; and the various messages of the President. A large amount of documentary matter was printed in the Record in the course of the debate.

Joint Resolution for the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the Government of Spain relinquish its authority and government in the Island of Cuba, and to withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the

« PreviousContinue »