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United States from Mississippi, or any other State, as was well known to me, and would be shown by reference to the Journals of the United States Senate. I stated, that I had represented the State of Mississippi in the Senate of the United States from January, 1836, until March, 1845, when, having resigned that office, I was called to the Cabinet of President Polk, as Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and remained in that position until the close of that administration in March 1849. I added, that I was in Washington city, the Capitol of the Union, and residing there as a Counsellor at Law in the Supreme Court of the United States when the first repudiation letter of Jefferson Davis commmunicated by him to the Editor of the “Union” (a newspaper of that city,) was published on the 25th May,1849, in that print, and very generally throughout the United States. It was remarked by me, that it was well known to myself personally, and I believed to every prominent public man of that date, especially those then in Washington, that Mr. Jefferson Davis was the author of that letter then published over his signature, and that he defended its doctrines, with all that earnestness and ability for which he was so distinguished. I was also residing in Washington, when, Mr. Jefferson Davis, published, over his signature, as a Senator of the United States from Mississippi, his well-known second repudiation letter, dated at his residence, “Brierfield, Miss.," August 29, 1849. This letter was addressed to the Editors of the “Mississippian," a newspaper published at Jackson, Mississippi, and
was received by me in due course of mail. This letter extended over several columns, and was an elaborate defence of the repudiation of Mississippi. This letter also was generally republished throughout the United States. These views of Mr. Jefferson Davis attracted my most earnest attention, because, after a brief interval, he was one of my successors in the senate of the United States, from Mississippi. I had always earnestly opposed the doctrine of repudiation in Mississippi, and the Legislature of 1840-41, by which I was re-elected, passed resolutions by overwhelming majorities, (hereafter quoted,) denouncing the repudiation either of the Union Bank, or Planters' bank bonds.
At the period of the conversations before referred to, late in April or early in May last, I was, on this recital of the facts, strongly urged to make them known in Europe, to which my consent was given.
After some investigation, however, the necessary documents fully to elucidate the whole subject could not be obtained here. It was necessary, therefore, to write home and procure them. This has been done, and I now proceed to a narrative of these transactions from the authentic historical public documents.
The first letter of Mr. Jefferson Davis before referred to, of the 25th of May, 1849, was published by him as a Senator of the United States from Mississippi, over his signature in the “Union," a newspaper published at Washington city. That letter is in these words ;
"DAILY UNION," WASHINGTON CITY. MAY 25, 1819. “Statement furnished by Jefferson Davis, Esq., Senator of the
United States. "The State of Mississippi has no other question with bondholders than that of debt or no debt. When the United States Bank of Pennsylvania purchased what are known as the Union Bank bonds, it was within the power of any stock-dealer to learn that they had been issued in disregard of the constitution of the State whose faith they assumed to pledge. By the constitution and laws of Mississippi, any creditor of the State may bring suit against the State, and test his claim, as against an individual. To this the bondholders have been invited; but conscious that they have no valid claim, have not sought their remedy. Relying upon empty (because false) denunciation, they have made it a point of honour to show what can be shown by judicial investigation; i.e., that there being no debt, there has been no default. The crocodile tears which have been shed over ruined creditors, are on a par with the baseless denunciations which have been heaped upon the State. Those bonds were purchased by a bank then tottering to its fall-purchased in violation of the charter of the bank, or fraudulently, by concealing the transaction under the name of an individual, as may best suit those concerned-purchased in violation of the terms of the law under which the bonds were issued, and iņ disregard of the constitution of Mississippi, of which the law was an infraction. To sustain the credit of that ricketty bank, the bonds were hypothecated abroad for interest on loans which could not be met as they became due.
"A smaller amount is due for what are termed Planters' Bank bonds of Mississippi. These evidences of debt, as well as the coupons issued to cover accruing interest, are receivable for State lands; and no one has a right to assume they will not be provided for otherwise, by or before the date at which the wbole debt becomes due.
“ JEFFERSON DAVIS.” To this letter the Loudon “Times," in its money article, of the 13th July, 1849, replied as follows :
“ The case of Mississippi stands, thus: In 1838
the State issued bonds for five millions of dollars, to
establish the Union bank. These bonds were dated “June, 1838, bearing five per cent.interest from date, “ and it was stipulated with the bank that they should “not be sold under their par value. On the 18th “ August following, the bank sold all these bonds to 6 the United States Bank for five millions of dollars,
payable in five equal instalments in November, “January, March, May, and July, but without in“ terest. The money was punctually paid to the Mis“sissippi Bank, and the Legislature of Mississippi, “on the terms of the sale being communicated to “them,” resolved, “That the sale of the bonds was “ highly advantageous to the State, and in accordance “ with the injunctions of the charter, reflecting the “highest credit on the Commissioners, and bringing a timely aid to an embarrassed community.' In “ little more than two years, however, the Mis“sissippi bank became totally insolvent, having lost “ the entire five millions invested in it by the State. “ Immediately on this having transpired, the Gover. « nor of the State sent a message to the Legislature “ recommending them to repudiate, (this was the 66
first time the word was used) their obligations, being “ founded on the plea, that as the bonds were issued “ with interest payable from the date, and they had “ been sold to the United States Bank for their nomi“ nal amount only, the stipulation that they should “ not be disposed of below their par value, had been “ departed from. He further urged that although “the bonds had been sold ostensibly to Mr. Biddle,
(the President of the United States Bank, the sale
was actually to the bank itself, which, by its charter “could not legally purchase them. Hence although “Mississippi had received the money for the bonds, “ it was thus proposed to refuse to repay it, on the
ground that the purchaser had no right to buy “them. The Legislature however, was not quite pre“pared for this, and accordingly in responding to the “ Governor's message, they resolved. "Ist. That the “State of Mississippi is bound to the holders of the “ bonds of the State sold on account of the bank for “ the amount of principal and interest. 2nd. That the “State of Mississippi will pay her bonds, and preserve 6 her faith inviolate. 3rd. That the insinuation that “the State of Mississippi would repudiate her bonds « and violate her plighted faith, is a calumny upon “the justice, honour and dignity of the State. But “after this, the pecuniary condition of the State be
came rapidly worse, and the disposition to pay “ diminished in proportion. Accordingly a joint com"mittee of the Legislature appointed in 1842, re“ported that the State was not bound to pay the “bonds, advancing the reasons before mentioned, and “ also another, namely, that the bonds had not been “ sanctioned in the manner required by the constitu“tion, since although the provision that no loan should “ be raised, unless sanctioned by a law passed through
two successive Legislatures had been complied with, " and the bonds had been legally authorized, the act “ also prescribed certain conditions regarding the “ Bank of Mississippi, which conditions had been “ altered by a subsequent act, that had only passed "through one Legislature.