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receive a majority of all the votes of the qualified electors of the State," was changed by the addition of “cast for and against."
A substitute section was inserted in place of the sixth which declared that “The property of the people of this State shall never be used by any incorporated company without the consent of the owner.' Another section added was that the state should never, directly or indirectly, become a stockholder in any bank or other corporation.
A substitute for the whole report was offered which only differed from it in some minor particulars; this was rejected by a very large majority.
The report was ordered engrossed.
3. Report of Committee on Incorporations,
The reports of the Committee on Incorporations was called up again on the 31st and read a third time. An attempt to refer the report to a Select Committee with instructions to make the restrictions applicable to banking institutions alone was lost by a vote of 21 to 41. A motion' to postpone indefinitely was lost; and the article on Incorporations was passed by a vote of 45 yeas to 22 nays.
The final form of Article 9, Incorporations, as left by the Committee on Revision was as follows:
1. No act of incorporation shall continue in force for a longer period than twenty years, without the re-enactment of the Legislature, unless it be an incorporation for public improvement.
The personal and real property of the individual members of all corporations hereafter created, shall, at all times, be liable for the debts due by any such corporation.
3. The Legislature shall create no bank or banking institution, or corporation with banking privileges in this state,
1 Journal of Convention, p. 52. 2 Ibid, p. 183. 3 Journal of Convention, p. 183. 4 Ibid, p. 184. 5 Journal of Convention, p. 199.
unless the charter with its provisions shall be submitted to a vote of the people at a general election for State officers, and receive a majority of the votes of the qualified electors of this State, cast for and against it.
4. The Legislative Assembly shall have power to repeal all acts of incorporation by them granted.
5. The property of the inhabitants of this State shall never be used by any incorporated company, without the consent of the owner.
6. Corporations of a public nature, such as counties, towns, villages, and the like, shall not be subject to the foregoing provisions.
7. The State shall not, directly or indirectly, become a stockholder in any bank or other corporation.
4. The Constitution of 1844, as Viewed by the Press and People.
The Constitution of 1844 as a whole gave general satisfaction to the people and the press. The amendment by Congress, changing the boundaries and very much diminishing the area of the proposed state, caused its rejection by the people.
The only paper which from the very first opposed the proposed Constitution was the Dubuque Transcript, which opposed it upon a number of grounds, one of them being that the provisions in regard to banks, and especially private corporations, were not liberal enough.
It is quite certain that the leaders of the Whigs, for political reasons alone, were opposed to the Territory of Iowa becoming a State at this time; but only general opposition was made to it by them.
The Democratic press of the Territory were in favor of it, at least up to the time of the change of the boundaries by Congress. There were many of the provisions that they were not in complete accord with, but they accepted the Constitution as a whole and supported it. The whole of the Democratic press was especially pleased with the article on Incorporations.
One of them in its editorial columns contained the following:
I Capital Reporter, November 9, 1844.
“The Constitution contains many sound provisions which will, we doubt not, exclude most of the prominent curses which have overrun the new States. Amongst these, the limitations on corporations stands first and foremost. These soulless monsters have tyrannized enough and we rejoice that Iowa, in the outset has bound the hydra hand and foot, for all purposes
of mischief, and left its friends, if they are disposed to test its virtues, properly restrained by law, an ample field for experiment.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer, one of the ablest Democratic journals of the West at that time, published the following in regard to corporations: “They have also decided to give the power in the constitution for a banking system, but with all the restrictions which have at all times been contended for by the Democrats, and are so essential in making them perfectly safe, or as near safe as can be, viz: making the stockholders personally liable, the charter to be submitted to the people to be voted for or against, the Legislature the right to alter, repeal or amend
*." The Ohio Statesman2 published the whole Constitution in one of its issues, and in the editorial column the following is found: “Its provisions in relation to corporations and banks, and common schools, are admirable and show that intelligence and jealousy of incorporated wealth go hand in hand. We are rejoiced to find that the public mind is waking up to these subjects, and that they consider them of sufficient magnitude to engraft them upon the Constitution.” After quoting the provisions in regard to submission to the people, the individual liability clause, and that the State shall not become a stockholder in any bank, etc., the editorial continues: “Let this provision be remembered by our own speculators who would make our own State a scape-goat for their schemes, and the people dupes for their plunder.
The whole is filled with provisions which show the progressive character of institutions and the increasing jealousy of the public mind on the subject of the anti-republican dogmas of Federalism. Thousands will emigrate to Iowa from their admiration of its Constitution, and the love of unadulterated liberty."
1 November 20, 1844. 2 November 22, 1844,
The Cincinnati Globe published the Constitution in its columns and also the Indiana State Sentinel, the latter claiming that it was the best State Constitution “in the confederacy.”
In all points of the Territory there was no really serious opposition to the Constitution, and it is quite certain that if there had been no change of boundaries by Congress the Constitution would have been adopted by the people at the time it was first submitted to them.
In the special session of the Legislature of 1845 during the debates upon the question of the resubmission of the Constitution to the vote of the people, there was no objection offered to the clause on Corporations in the many speeches that were delivered.
The inevitable conclusion to draw, from a close study of this period, is that the articles on corporations were not an obstacle to the adoption of the Constitution, and that the majority of the people and practically all of the press were not seriously opposed to it.
1 November 28, 1844. 2 November 24, 1844.
CULMINATION OF THE OPPOSITION TO BANKING.
Petition for a Stock Bank at Iowa City. In the special session of 1845, Mr. Downey, the representative of Johnson County, presented the petition of James Robertson and 55 others, praying the Legislature to charter a Territorial Stock Bank, and at the same time, previous notice having been given, introduced: No. 31, H. R. File, “A Bill to charter the Bank of Iowa in Iowa City.” The bill has not been preserved in the archives of the State, but fortunately the petition has been. This petition clearly states the condition of the times and the feelings of the people, hence it is believed to be worthy of introduction here. To the Honorable the Council and House of Representatives
of the Legislative Assembly, of the Territory of Iowa: The petition of the undersigned, citizens of said Territory, represent, That in their opinion the inhabitants of the Territory would be greatly benefited, and the interests of agriculture, commerce and manufacture much advanced, by the establishment of a STOCK BANK.
Your petitioners are aware that the systems of banking, which were unfortunately adopted in the South and West some years since, has been a tendency to prejudice the public mind against every species of bankpapers; but whatever evils may attend a paper currency, and it must be admitted that there are many, its policy cannot now be regarded as an open question. The State claims and exercises the right of creating Bank Incorporations, and they form and will continue to form a part of our commercial policy; and each new state will be bound in Defence to furnish her own paper currency. The specious plea of the opponents of all banks that what is wrong in itself can not be made right by considerations of expediency,” if
i Journal of House, p. 81.