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county officers and should receive a majority of all the votes cast. It was lost by a vote in which the party lines were quite closely drawn.
A substitute for the first section' was then offered by Mr. Dible; it was as follows:
No corporate body shall hereafter be enacted, renewed or extended with the privilege of making or issuing or putting in circulation any bill, check, ticket, certificate, promissory note, or other paper, or the paper of any Bank to circulate as money, except the question of Corporation with the law enacting the same, before it become a law, shall have been submitted to a vote of the whole people at some convenient election, the the majority of whose votes shall be deemed a confirmation, of the same.
This was passed by a vote of 16 yeas to 15 nays. This section conferred the power of granting charters for banking purposes and is very similar to the third section of the article on Incorporations in the Constitution of 1844. This change from the ultra anti-bank provision of the report of the Committee on Incorporations was effected by the Democrats who held a conservative position upon the question of banks, uniting with the Whigs in voting for this substitute. After this substitute was passed, the anti-bank men joined with the conservative Democrats and Whigs in placing strong restrictions in any charters that might be granted under the preceding section. For by a vote of 28 yeas to 3 nays there was added as a second section the following:
The General Assembly may at any time propose alterations or a repeal of any such corporation that may have been created, and such proposition shall be submitted to the people as provided in the foregoing section, and shall be confirmed in like manner." An attempt to make this still stronger by giving the Legislature the power of immediate repeal met with failure.
In the next morning's session the details of the method of
1 Journal of Convention, p. 72. 2 Ibid, p. 72.
granting charters was provided for in that “No act of incorporation shall be submitted to the people, until the same shall have been published at least twelve successive weeks at least in twelve of the weekly newspapers published in this state, provided, that that number of newspapers are published at the passage of such act, nor shall such publication be made until the party applying shall have deposited with the State Treasurer, a sum sufficient to defray the expenses of such publication."
This was passed by a vote of 25 to 6; the negative votes being cast by the Whigs. An attempt to cut the time of publication in the above amendment down to six weeks was lost by a vote of 4 yeas to 27 nays. The affirmative vote here being all Whigs.
Provision was made for the organization of corporations under general laws by the following: "Corporations shall not be created in this State by special laws, except for political or municipal purposes, but the General Assembly shall provide by general laws for the organization of all other corporations, except corporations with banking or discounting privileges, the creating of which have been already provided for in the foregoing section. The stockholders shall be subject to such liabilities and restrictions as shall be provided by law.” Only three votes were cast in the negative upon this question of its passage, and they were cast by Whigs.
The liability clause was changed by adding to the second section: “To double the amount of stock subscribed respectively after the means of such incorporation are exhausted;" and to the second section as amended above there was added: “And no stockholder shall be released from his responsibility by transferring his stock in such corporation to another person.” All the Whigs and three Democrats voted in the negative.
1 Journal of Convention, p. 75. 2 Ibid, p. 76.
The motion' to postpone indefinitely the report was decided in the negative by a vote of 10 yeas to 20 nays. This, as will be seen, was a strictly party vote, and perhaps the best test that was taken during the session. After this the report was laid upon the table.
At the next morning's session the article on Incorporations was taken from the table and the whole article was struck out by a vote of 24 to 6. The blank was then filled with the sections following:
No corporate body shall hereafter be created, renewed or extended, with the privileges of making, issuing, or putting into circulation, any bill, check, ticket, certificate, promissory note, or other paper, or the paper of any bank, to circulate as money.
The General Assembly of this State shall prohibit, by law, any person, or persons, association, or company, or corporation, from exercising the privileges of making or creating paper to circulate as money.
Corporations shall not be created in this State by special laws, except for political or municipal purposes, but the General Assembly shall provide by general laws, for the organizing of all other corporations, except corporations with banking privileges, the creation of which is prohibited. The stockholders shall be subject to such liabilities and restrictions as shall be provided by law.
The State shall not be directly or indirectly become a stockholder in any corporation.
These are the words of the article on Incorporations as they finally passed. The only change made by the Committee of Revision was to make one paragraph instead of two out of each section.
Upon the questions of its insertion the vote was 21 yeas to 9 nays; only one Whig voting for its passage. The article was then ordered to be engrossed and referred to the Committee on Revision. Mr. Shelleday (Whig) asked leave of the Convention to be excused from serving on the Committee on Revision, and Mr. Grant (Democrat) was substituted in his place.
1 Journal of Convention, p. 76. : Journal of Convention, p. 85. 3 Journal of Convention, p. 86.
Only one additional reference to banks or corporations is found in the proceedings of the Convention, and that is that “No moneys which may be received from any source whatever, for school or educational purposes, or the proceeds thereof, shall ever be loaned to any bank or other incorporated company.” This was laid over under the rules.
The article on Incorporations was read a third time, and passed on May 17th by a vote 18 yeas to 6 nays; the negative votes were all cast by Whigs.
The people of the Territory had rejected at the April election of 1845 the Constitution of 1844 by a majority of 996; on its resubmission in August, 1845, it had been again rejected by a majority4 of 421.5
9. Opposition to the Constitution.
There was a very great opposition to the Constitution of 1846, especially by the Whigs and the more conservative Democrats. The Whig press was united in its effort to defeat it. The old hostility to the Constitution of 1844, because of the too stringent regulations upon banking was now openly shown. The Iowa Standardó in an editorial upon the Constitution says that “The Article upon Incorporation is improved. The former one was a cheat, and so intended. The new Constitution does directly what the other did indirectly. Banking is now prohibited absolutely and flatly. And if the members of the late Convention are not entitled to credit for political sagacity, they deserve some for their boldness. They march right up and make an issue with their constituents; and we trust the people will as boldly meet the question of Bank or no Bank at the next August election, by rejecting the whole Constitution, or if from motives of expediency, they shall deem it advisable to vote for the Constitution, that they will endorse upon their tickets, that they except the Ninth Article, which prohibited banks.”
1 Journal of Convention, p. 96. 2 Journal of Convention, p. 102. 3 Capital Reporter, May 10, 1845. 4 Votes from Iowa and Marion Counties missing. 5 Bloomington Herald, September 20, 1845. 6 July 8, 1846.
Many of the Whig papers advocated that there should have been a provision made for voting upon the disputed question of banks. In the event of the adoption of this Constitution all of them were strong advocates that all minor political differences should be dropped at the next election of members for the Legislature and such members elected as would make provision for its amendment and the settlement of the banking question. Serious objection was made by the Whig papers to this Constitution on account of the difficulty in amending it; it differing from the draft in 1844 by necessitating a Constitutional Convention to amend it, hence if it should be adopted there would be delay in securing reforms in regard to banks.
(a) Speech of Wm. Penn Clark against it.
One of the strongest of the many speeches' made against the adoption of the proposed Constitution was that of Wm. Penn Clark, delivered at lowa City. He was opposed to the adoption of the Constitution because it prohibited banks; and that by doing this the people simply disabled themselves. He called attention to the fact that the prohibition of banks was an entirely different thing from the prohibition of bank currency;
and that this was not a settlement of the abstract question whether the people of the Territory preferred gold and silver exclusively, or a mixed bank currency. He stated that “The question is narrowed down to the single point, whether we will have banks of issue of our own, and a currency of our own creation, and under our own control, or whether we will become dependent upon other States for such a circulating medium; trusting to the solvency and the good
1 Iowa Standard, July 22, 1846.