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6. The Governor's Recommendation.
From April to June of this year, there was a falling off in the amount of currency in circulation and its character had deteriorated more rapidly than the fall in volume. So serious in character had the financial condition become that the Governor in his annual message to the Legislative Assembly said: “Should the bill now depending before Congress of the United States for the establishment of two land offices West of the Mississippi River, become a law, and should the lands be opened for sale under the proclamation of the President of the United States during the present year, many of our citizens who might be entitled to purchase public lands (should the right of pre-emption be extended to them) would not be prepared to pay for their homes. I respectfully and earnestly recommend to the Legislative Assembly the justice and propriety of memorializing the President of the United States on this subject, asking him to defer the sale of public lands within this Territory, for one year. The present state of the currency and the difficulty of procuring land office money would justify the indulgence proposed for the benefit of this meritorious class of our citizens who have a right to expect justice and the patronage of the government will be extended to them.”
1 June 11, 1838.
BANKING IN Iowa FROM 1838 TO 1841.
1. The Third Investigation.
Early in the session of the first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa, November 28th, 1838, Stephen Hempstead offered a Joint Resolution in the Council to investigate the affairs of the Miners' Bank of Dubuque. The Resolution was passed by the Council without amendment on the same day, and was read the first time in the House; on the following day it was concurred in by the House.
The committee consisted of three members, one from the Council and two from the House. Warner Lewis was appointed by the Council; and Nowlin and Hall by the House. Hall was one of the Representatives from the district consisting of Jackson, Dubuque and Clayton Counties.
The committee was authorized by this resolution to proceed immediately to Dubuque, and investigate the affairs of the Miners' Bank. They were to examine all books, papers, accounts and certificates; count the gold, silver and bankable paper in the vault; determine the amount of deposits; and examine "into every act or acts of said bank which relates or may relate, in any manner, to the fiscal management of the same;" to examine under oath the President, Cashier, or any other officer upon any acts that related to the management of the bank. In order to punish any of the witnesses for perjury, if it should be committed, a provision new to resolutions appointing "committees of investigations” was introduced: “If the said President, Cashier or other officer, to whom oath shall be administered,............ shall swear or affirm falsely, in
I Governor of Iowa, 1854.
answer to any interrogatory propounded by said committee, or to any affidavit required by said committee, such President, Cashier, or other officer, shall be deemed to have committed the crime of perjury and shall be punished as the laws of this Territory require." It could not be claimed that the officers of the bank had sworn falsely in making their report to this investigating committee and that there was no law to punish them.
The committee had the power “to send for persons and papers” and examine the persons under oath as to their knowledge of the management of the bank. The committee did not take advantage of the first provision in the resolution, in making the investigation.
As soon as possible after the investigation, they were to make a full and complete report of the results of their examination to the Council and House of Representatives.
The committee proceeded immediately to Dubuque and on the 6th of December, 1838, submitted the following list of questions to T. O. Martin, Cashier of the Miners' Bank of Dubuque:
Ist. What is the amount of deposits on hand?
4th. What is the amount of debts due from the directors and stockholders?
5th. What is the amount due from other persons or corporations?
6th. What is the amount of specie in bank and actually belonging to the bank?
7th. What amount of bills of other banks have you on hand, actually belonging to the bank?
8th. What is the amount of your deposites in other banks; if any, what banks are they?
9th. What amount of real estate is owned by the bank? ioth. What is the amount of other property? IIth. What is the amount of capital stock actually paid in?
12th. What is the character of the issues of the bank; are they post notes, or payable on demand, and what is the amount of each?
13th. Are any other banks or corporations indebted to the Miners' Bank? if any, what, and what amount?
14th. What is the amount of debts that the Miners' Bank owes at this time, whether by bond, bill, note, post note, or
owher cont Has the loans of
'15th. Has the Miners' Bank ever taken more than seven per cent. upon its loans?
16th. What amount of capital stock was paid in, before the bank commenced its operations?
17th. What is the character of your deposites, are they general or special?”.
In answer to the interrogatories of the committee, the Cashier of the bank made the following statement:
State of the funds of the Miners' Bank of Du Buque, Dec. 7th, 1838: Capital Stock......
.......$100,000.00 Profits on Hand....
10,990.00 Post Notes......
5,035.00 Individual Deposites...
4,206.II 1,000.00 71,597.72 6,244.13 4,363.98
762.19 6,344.00 5,050.00 1,678.00 18,874.00
MINERS' BANK, Du BUQUE, December 7, 1838. Gentlemen :-I hand above, a statement of the affairs of this bank, as requested by you in person yesterday. I also annex