The Congressional Globe, Volume 14: Twenty-Eighth Congress, Second Session Page: 54
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PETTIT, C. J. INGERSOLL, and WINTHROP
The CHAIRMAN announced that the saotion of
the gentleman-from Virginia would be divided, and
the question first taken on the postponement of the
bill before the committee.
Mr. DROMGOOLE said that was not his mo-
tion. He made a substantive motion to postpone
the land bill for the purpose of taking up the bill
No. 216; and if that should not prevail, any other
gentleman might move to postpone to take up any
The CHAIRMAN persisted in his decision, and
the question was put on the motion to postpone.
Tellers were called for, and Messrs. Duncan and
Grinnell were appointed; and they reported 74 in
the affirmative and 31 in the negative—no quorum
[Cries of "rise and report that fact to the House."]
Mr. THOMPSON inquired if the question of
postponement was debatable. He wished to say a
The CHAIRMAN replied that it was not—the
House having decided on the question.
Tiie question on postponement was again taken,
and decided m the affirmative—yeas 85, nays 30.
THE INDEPENDENT TREASURY.
The second division of the question, viz: on the
motion of Mr. Dromgoole to take up bill No. 216,
"to provide for the collection, safe-keepiiig,transfer,
and disbursements of the public revenue," was taken
and resulted—ayes 81, noes 26. No quorum
Mr. PETTIT moved that the committee rise.
Mr. ADAMS. Is it not the duty of the chair-
man to report the fact of no quorum to the House?
I hope it will be done.
Atter some further conversation, the Chairman
deciding, as there , was evidently a quorum in the
House, that it was not incumbent on the committee
to rise, unless upon motion to that effect agreed
The question was taken on the motion to rise,
and it was rejected.
The question then recurring on the motion to take
up the bill No. 216, "to provide for the collection,
safe-keeping, transfer, and disbursement of the pub-
lic revenue," was again taken, and decided in the
affirmative—ayes 90, noes 31.
So the committee determined that they would
proceed with the consideration of the bill abovemen-
The Clerk commenced and proceeded with the
reading of the bill; but before he had concluded—
Mr. PETTIT inquired if it was not in order to
suspend the further reading of the bill? They had
all read it over and over for the last six years. He
moved to suspend the further reading of the bill.
Mr. DROMGOOLE inquired if the gentleman's
proposition was to suspend with the general reading
and to read by sections for amendment? If so, he
had no objection to it.
Mr. PETTIT replied that that was his motion.
This proposition being agreed to by universal
consent, the general reading was dispensed with,
The Clerk proceeded to tead the bill by clauses.
TheTstand 2d sections having been read,
Mr. ADAMS rose and inquired of the gentleman
who had reported this bill, [Mr. Dromgooi.e,]
whether the 1st section was not a copy of the sub-
treasury law as it had formerly existed?
Mr. DROMGOOLE replied that the bill, as origi-
nally enacted, provided for the preparation of these
vaults, rooms, &c. Under that act they had been
prepai'ed; and this 1st section was only changed so
far as to diiect the use of them as prepared under
the former law.
Mr. ADAMS was proceeding to make a remark,
Mr. DROMGOOLE inquired what section was
under consideration? And was there a proposition
of amendment offered?
The CHAIRMAN replied that the 2d section
was under consideration.
Mr. ADAMS. Is it not in order to move to strike
out the'lat scctif n?
The CHAIRMAN replied that it was not in or-
der now, that section having been passed over.
The reading of the bill was then further proceed-
The 5th section having been read, providing for
the appointment of • officers, to be entitled "re-
ceivers general of the public money"—
Mr. DROMGOOLE moved to fill the blank by
inserting the word "four" as the number of said of-
Which amendment was agreed to.
Mr. DROMGOOLE moved also to amend the
same by filling another blank, so as to provide for
the location of one of said officers at St. Louis,
The amendment was agreed to.
The clause imposing a penalty on defaulters be-
Mr. WENT WORTH inquired if it was neces-
sary to move to strike out that clause, in order to
make a few remarks.
The SPEAKER replied in the affirmative.
Mr. WENTWORTH then moved to strike out
the clause under consideration, and observed that he
wished, before this law went into operation again,
to know the number of defaulters up to the date of
its passage, lest there should be charged upon the
law itself transgressions committed beforehand.
There have been a great many instances of defalca-
tion, and several in the State of Illinois, since this
law was repealed. And although the penal clause
of the old sub-treasury law was still in force, yet
he had heard of no criminal prosecutions in these
cases, although civil actions had been commenced.
For one, he could not look upon defalcations in any
trivial light; and he was anxious to know the num-
ber under each administration. A new administra-
tion was about to commence, and that administra-
tion ought to bear its own sins, and no "more. It
had been said that the defalcations under the present
administration had been small. Be it so or not,
justice to the present and to the coming administra-
tions requires that the fact should be known. He had
made these remarks merely as prefatory to a res-
olution calling for information'upon this subject. To
make them at the time of offering the resolution,
might be outof order. Hence he made them now,
as he believed that so long as the penal clause stood
in full force, its provisions should be carried out.
If the democratic party was strongly committed in
favor of any one thing, it was in favor of
the safe-keeping and disbursing of the public
moneys. Thus committed, he was, before the new
administration commenced, for obtaining the num-
ber and amount of all the present defalcations.
This favor ought not to be denied to President
Mr. W. closed by stating that, in a few days, he
would submit a resolution to this purpose, and he
hoped no obstacle from any quarter would arise
to its adoption, as it would prevent much dispute
hereafter. The number of defalcations was the
great argument against the independent treasury
system. The people had a right to know whether,
with or without that system, the number was the
greatest. He hoped his resolution would exhibit
this fact. Mr. W. concluded by withdrawing his
On motion by Mr. DROMGOGLE, some amend-
ments were then made.
The clause respecting the salaries of receivers
Mr. JOS. R. INGERSOLL moved to amend it,
by increasing the additional pay allowed by the bill
to the treasurer of the mint at Philadelphia from
$500 to $1,000; and,
After some remarks from Messrs. DROMGOOLE
The question was put on the motion, and it was
Mr. DROMGOOLE moved that the committee
rise, and report the bill to the House.
Mr. ADAMS moved to strike out the first sec-
tion of the bill, as follows:
!:> :' mat .'id ' .7 ihv Seno-'e and House of Ri prcscntnUi ai of the
Uil./ed (if ,:ini.-jrut ia Con^iei-, assembled, That tile
rooms prepared arid provided m tin: new treasuij building
at the seat of government for the use of the Treasurer of the
United States, his assistants and clerks, and occupied by
tliem, and also the fireproof vaults and safes erected m said
looms, for ttie keeping of public moneys in the possession
and under the immediate control of said Treasurer, and here-
by constituted and declared to be the treasury of the United
States: and the said Treasurer of the United States shall
keep all the public moneys which shall come to his hands
in the treasury of the United States, as hereby constituted,
until the same shall be drawn therefrom according to law.
Mr. DROMGOOLE contended that the motion
was out of order, inasmuch as it was equivalent to
a motion to reject the bill; and by the parliamentary
law, a bill was sent to a committee to perfect its
details, not to defeat it.
Mr. ADAMS said that his present object was
only to get rid of that section, which he considered
The CHAIR decided that the motion was at
present out of order, the bill having been gone
through with section by section;
Mr. J. R. INGERSOLL asked if it would not be
in order to move to amend the motion of the gentle-
man from Virginia, by adding, "and that the com-
mittee recommend that be bill be rejected."
The CHAIR said it would not be in order.
Mr. ADAMS said that his objection to the first
section of the bill was, that it declared that the room
provided in the new treasury building for the use of
the Treasurer of the United States was the treasury
of the United States, and limited the treasury of the
United States to that building.
He went on to contend that that being the treasu-
ry, and nowhere else, no money could be expended
unless it had been in those particular safes, without
conflicting with the constitution, one clause of which
provided that "No money shall be drawn from the
treasury but in consequence of appropriations made
by law." There were, by this bill, to be a number
of depositories m which money was to remain sub-
ject to the drafts of the Treasurer of the United
States for disbursement, which would never, per-
haps, find its way into this treasury at all. Now
he (Mr. A.) knew not why the particular building
mentioned in this bill should be the treasury of the
United States, unless it were for the purpose of nul-
lifying the provision of the constitution to which he
had alluded. This government has existed for up-
wards of sixty years; and during the whole of that
time the treasury has been taken and understood to
be where the money was—in the power of the Treas-
urer of the United States, and at his responsibility.
He hoped this section would be stricken out.
Mr. DROMGOOLE replied. The gentleman
from Massachusetts had made this objection on a
previous occasion, and it was held not to be good
then; and he believed it would be held not to be
good now. But a complete answer to the objection
was found in the 11th section of this bill, which was
in these words:
Skc. 11. Jlnd be it further enacted, That the moneys in the
hands, care, and custody of any ol the depositories consti-
tuted by this act, shall be considered and held as deposited
to the credit of the Treasurer of the United States, and
shall be at all time's subject to his draft, whether made for
transfer or disbursement, m the same manner as though the
said moneys were actually in the treasury of the United
States; and each depositary shall make returns to the
Treasury ■ and Post Office Departments of all moneys re-
ceived and paid by him, at such times, and ill such form, as
shall be direeted by the Secretary of the Treasury or the
The gentleman would" see, then, that provision
was made to meet the objection which he had raised
—by which it was provided that the money in the
depositories was subject to the drafts of the Treas-
urer, in the same manner as if it was in the treasury
of the United States. The money in the depositories
was as much in the treasury of the United States,
under the construction of this section, as the money
in the particular building here designated; and no
part of it could be paid out, but in consequence of
appropriations made by law. This bill was full of
guards and checks to prevent an improper appropri-
ation of the public money. But where were the
cares and the scruples of the gentleman from Mas-
sachusetts, and the party with which he acted,
when they placed the public money in banks with-
out the operation of law, and made it subject, in
like manner, to transfers fiom one part of the coun-
try to another. If there were anything in the ob-
jection of the gentleman from Massachusetts, how
did it sink into insignificance in comparison with
those objections which presented themselves to the
existing system, which had been brought about by
the hasty and inconsiderate repeal of the sub-treas-
ury act—which repeal had left the treasury of the .
country, in the language of the great embodiment of
whigery, "in a lawless condition." The passage of
this bill would prevent the treasury being any long-
er "in a lawless condition:" it would put the public
money in better and safer custody; and this was the
desire of the people, who had decided in favor of
this system, on the great issue being made between
it and a bank of the United States. If, then, the
re-establishment of a national bank be an "obsolete
idea," he appealed to gentlemen if they would not
put the treasury in a better condition than it was in
now, in consequence of their hasty repeal of the
sub-treasury act, by the passage of this bill—their
own scheme being hopeless. There was now no
law to restrain the arbitrary will of the President of
the United States in the removal of the public de-
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 14: Twenty-Eighth Congress, Second Session, legislative document, 1845; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2366/m1/70/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.