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“In addition to the five millions thus repudiated, “ Mississippi owes two millions which she recognizes. “It has always, however, been a difference without “ distinction, since she pays no dividends on either. “ From the period of repudiation up to the present
moment, all representations of the bondholders have “ been treated with disregard. About a year and a“half back, however, one of the citizens of Mississippi,
Mr. Robbins, admitted the moral liability of the “State, and proposed that the people should dis“ charge it by voluntary contributions.
The next step is the appearance of the letter from “ Mr. Jefferson Davis, with whom we are now called
upon to deal. This statement which was trans“mitted by him to the Washington' Union, in reply “to our remarks of the 23rd February last runs as “ follows :-(Here the Times inserts Mr. Jefferson Davis repudiation letter before quoted.)
“ The assurance in this statement that the Planters' “ bank, or non-repudiated bonds are receivable for “ State lands, requires this addition, which Mr. Jef« ferson Davis has omitted, that they are only so " receivable
upon lands being taken at three times its “ current value. The affirmation afterwards, that no
one has a right to assume that these bonds will not “ be fully provided for before the date at which the “principal falls due, is simply to be met by the fact “that portions of them fell due in 1841 and 1846, 6 and that on these, as well as on all the rest, both “ principal and interest remain wholly unpaid.
Regarding the first part of the statement no 6 comment could be made which would not weaken its “effect. Taking its principle and its tone together, it
" is a doctrine which has never been paralleled. Let it “circulate throughout Europe, that a member of the “ United States Senate in 1849, has openly proclaimed " that at a recent period the Governor and Legisla“tive Assemblies of his own State deliberately issued “ fraudulent bonds for five millions of dollars to 'sus“ tain the credit of a rickety bank;' that the bonds “ in question, having been hypothecated abroad to in“nocent holders, such holders have not only no claim “ against the community by whose executive and re"presentatives this act was committed, but that they
are to be taunted for appealing to the verdict of the “civilized world, rather than to the judgment of the “ legal officers of the State by whose functionaries “they have been already robbed; and that the ruin “of toil-worn men, of women, of widows, and of chil
dren, and the crocodile tears' which that ruin has
occasioned, is a subject of jest on the part of those “ by whom it has been accomplished, and then let it “ be asked if any foreigner ever penned a libel on “ the American character equal to that against the “ people of Mississippi by their own Senator."
To this reply of the London "Times,” which, (except in portions of Mississippi,) was generally approved throughout the Union, Mr. Jefferson Davis responded in a very long letter, dated from his residence, Brierfield, Mississippi, Aug. 29, 1849, addressed to the Editors of the “ Mississippian." He begins as follows:-“The London Times of July 13, 1849, contains an article which most unjustly and unfairly attacks the State of Mississippi and myself because of a statement I made in refutation
of a former calumny against her, which was published in the same paper.” This article of the London “Times” Mr. Davis denounces as “a foreigner's slander against the government, the judiciary, and people of Mississippi ;" very well for the high tory paper as an attack upon our republican government;" as “untrue;" “the hypocritical cant of stock-jobbers and pensioned presses” “reckless of reputation;" “ hired advocates of the innocent stock dealers of London Change;" “a calumnious imputation."
These are pleasant epithets which Mr. Jefferson Davis applied to the “ London Times' and the London Change.” But Mr. Jefferson Davis was very indignant, not only with London, but with all England, for he says, “ With far more propriety might repudiation be charged on the English Government, for the reduction of interest on her loans when she consolidated her debts; for the income tax which compels fundholders to return a part of the interest they receive on their evidences of public debt, for the support of the Government which is their debtor.” According, then, to Mr. Jefferson Davis, the London Times and the London Change are great reprobates, and it is not Mississippi but “THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT” which has repudiated their own públic debt.
From such angry epithets and fierce denunciation, the reader will be prepared to find very little argument in Mr. Jefferson Davis's second letter. He denies that Mississippi received the money. But a bank of which she was the sole stockholder, and whose directory was all appointed by her, re
ceived it. They received it also for her exclusive benefit, for she, as a State, was to derive large profits on the stock of the bank, which was hers exclusively, and was paid for entirely by the proceeds of these bonds. Mississippi then, as a State, through her agents appointed by her received this money. All governments must act through human agency, and the agency
in this case which received the money, was appointed entirely by the State. But this is not all. The Bank, which was exclusively a State bank, and based entirely on the proceeds of these State bonds, with no other st holders, was directed by the charter to loan this money, the proceeds of these bonds, only to “ the citizens of the State," sec. 46, and so the loans were made. The State, then, through an agency appointed exclusively by itself, received this money, the proceeds of the State bonds, and the State, through this same agency, loaned this money to « the citizens of the State, who never repaid the loans. The State then received the money and loaned it out to its own citizens, who still hold it; and yet this money, obtained on the solemn pledge of the faith of the State, her citizens still hold, and the State repudiates her bonds on which the money was received, and Mr. Jefferson Davis sustains, indorses, and eulogises this proceeding. Never was there a stronger case.
Mr. Jefferson Davis reiterates in this letter his arguments contained in his previous communication of the 25th May, 1849, so fully answered by the Editors of the London " Times” in their money
article before quoted of the 13th July, 1849. He elaborates, particularly, the legal position, that the bonds were invalid, because he says not sanctioned by two successive Legislatures as required by the Constitution of Mississippi. This statement is erroneous, because the loan in the precise forın, in which the bonds were issued, was sanctioned by two successive Legislatures in perfect conformity with the Constitution. This is shown, as will be proved hereafter, by reference to the laws passed by the State, and such was the decision on this very point by the highest judicial tribunal of Mississippi, in 1842 and 1853. But let us suppose that there was some technical legal informality as to the law, would that justify the repudiation of these bonds ? The Legislature had passed laws in 1837 and 1838 authorising the issue and sale of these bonds, those acts had been all signed and approved by the Governor of the State, the bonds had been signed by the Governor and Treasurer of the State, the broad seal of the State had been affixed to them by the Governor, they were placed in the hands of the authorities of the State for sale, they were sold by them, and the full amount paid over to the agency appointed by the State, and by that agency the money was loaned to the citizens of the State” and still retained by them. When the sale of these State bonds in August, 1838, together with all the facts and documents were placed by the Governor before the Legislature in 1839, they ratified and highly approved the sale as before quoted by the “ Times,” and again still more decidedly in 1841.