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outwitted by its friends as they had been at the previous session. So we find that on the first day of the session, Mr. Rogers, Representative from Dubuque county, gave notice of the introduction of a bill' to repeal its charter; and in accordance with this motion presented "A Bill' to repeal the Charter of the Miners' Bank of Dubuque, and to provide for the winding up the affairs of the same," which was ready for the first time and ordered printed.
The bille was called up on December roth, and after an attempt to refer it to the Committee on the Judiciary it was referred to the Committee of the Whole and made the order of the day for the 11th; but upon that date consideration of it was postponed until December 15th.
On that date it was considereds in the Committee of the Whole and some minor amendments made to it and reported back to the House, which concurred in them.
Mr. Rogers then sought to have the bill engrossed and read a third time on the next day and thus finish its consideration in the House. This action was defeated by a resolution introduced by Mr. Nowlinó that “Whereas, information has been received that there are now in circulation in the counties of Dubuque, Jackson &c., memorials to the Legislature relative to the Dubuque Bank; therefore, Resolved, That Bill No. 1, H. R. File, "A Bill to repeal the Charter of the Miners' Bank of Dubuque, and to provide for the winding up the affairs of the same,' be laid on the table? until the 2nd day of January next.' Under the rules of the House this resolution had precedence over Mr. Rogers' motion, was put and barely passed by a yea and nay vote of 13 to 12.
1 Journal of House, p. 4. 2 No. 1, House File. 3 Journal of House, p. 8. 4 Ibid, p. 19. s Ibid, p. 28. 6 One of Committee for examination of bank in 1839. 7 Journal of House, p. 29.
(a) Reception of Petitions.
On January ist, “Mr. Grimes presented a letter of instruction to the Des Moines County delegation. This instructed them to vote for the passage of a law which would compel the Miners' Bank to resume specie payment within thirty days, and in case that they would not, to authorize the appointment of commissioners by the Judge of the District Court to settle up its affairs. The petition was signed' by 1172 citizens of the county. A point of order being raised, that the letter was not addressed to the House, and so could not be received, was sustained.
Mr. Johnson presented a petition to the House from 96 citizens of Des Moines County, asking that the charter of the Miners' Bank be repealed, or that the stockholders be compelled to pledge real estate for the security of the notes that had been or might be issued by the bank. This petition was received and laid upon the table.
On the next morning the speaker stated that upon further reflection, although he was not fully satisfied that his decision of the previous day on the House receiving the letter of the Des Moines County delegation was incorrect, still he thought it right and proper to reverse that decision and gave for his reasons:
Ist. Because there is some analogy between the present and the case of the receptions by Congress of instructions directed to members from particular states, by the Legislatures of the same.
2nd. And mainly because the Speaker conceives it the safer course in cases of this kind to leave the question of reception with the House.
The instructions were again presented by Mr. Grimes and upon his motion that they should be received by the House, all the members present (20) voted in the affirmative.
This day was marked by the reception of petitions in regard to the Miners' Bank of Dubuque. Mr. Brophy presented a 1 Journal of House, p. 38. Ibid, pp. 39-41.
letter of instruction from 173 citizens of Clinton County, urging that the Representatives from that county vote for a law which would force the bank to close up its business or resume specie payments by the ist of March, 1844. Mr. Rogers presented a petition from Dubuque, Delaware and Clayton counties, “praying that further time be given to the Miners' Bank to resume specie payment." This was signed by 559 persons. This, upon motion of Mr. Rogers, was referred to a select committee consisting of the delegation from Dubuque, Delaware and Clayton. Mr. Foley of Jackson County presented a letter of instruction from 213 of his constituents, instructing him to use his exertions for the passage of a law which would require the Miners' Bank to either resume specie payments in thirty days from its passage or force it to cease its business. This was referred to the select committee, to whom the petition presented by Mr. Rogers had been referred, and Mr. Foley was also added to that committee.
Later in this day's session' a bill to repeal the charter of the Miners' Bank, etc., came up and further action upon it was postponed until January 8th, 1844. The reasons given for this motion being the expected arrival of more petitions from Des Moines and Jackson counties.
On the next morning Mr. Foley of Jackson County presented the petition of 96 citizens of that county asking that the Miners' Bank be compelled to resume specie payments upon April 1st, or suffer a revocation of its charter; and a petition from 27 citizens asking that “the affairs of the bank be wound up.” To the various petitions presented previous to this, there had been more than twenty-four hundred signers, all of whom had petitioned that the bank should be compelled to resume specie payments or as a last resort be compelled to wind up its affairs; but this petition was the first that asked for an absolute closing of the business of the bank as the only
1 Journal of House, p. 49. 2 Iowa Standard, January 4, 1844.
course. On January 8th a similar petition to the last one was received, signed by 30 residents of Clinton and Jackson counties; and again on the roth a petition? from Jackson County with 188 signers asked that the Legislature would take no other action than to “repeal its charter and wind up its affairs." On the next day a petitions from Des Moines County with 57 signers was received praying that the “affairs of the bank be wound up without further indulgence.”
(6) The Discussion in the House.
On January 11th,4 after considering the bill in the Committee of the Whole without making any amendments, Hackleman from Des Moines County moved to amend the bill by inserting after the enacting clause, the following:“That the Stockholders of the Miners' Bank of Dubuque, be and they are hereby required to redeem and pay specie for all notes issued by said bank, that may be presented at their counter within thirty days after the passage of this act, and continue at all times thereafter to pay specie when called for, and if they refuse so to do, then said charter shall be wound up according to the provisions of this act.
"Provided, That unless the stockholders of said bank shall within thirty days after the passage of this act, mortgage to the Territory of Iowa, four hundred thousand dollars worth of real estate, lying and being situated in the Territory of Iowa, which shall be valued at a fair value, to secure the payment of the notes that are, or may be hereafter issued by said bank, and that the Judge of the Third Judicial District have power, and it is hereby made his duty to appoint three disinterested Commissioners to value said land under oath, to the best of their judgment, who shall take and receive said mortgage in the name of the Territory of Iowa, and that they have the same made a matter of record, in the Recorder's Office of the County of Dubuque, in said Territory, and that said bank pay all charges for the same, and further, it shall be the duty 1 Journal of House, p. 64.
3 Journal of House, p. 73. Ibid, p. 72.
4 Ibid, p. 75.
of said Commissioners, to examine into the affairs of said bank, and report to the said Judge every three months.” This motion was lost by a vote of 4 to 21.
An attempt was made to amend the bill by the insertion after the enacting clause of what was practically a new bill and one that was in accordance with the spirit of the majority of the petitioners and letters of instructions sent to the House and to the different delegations. It consisted of three sections;' the first required that the bank should resume specie payments within thirty days after its passage; the second, that in case of failure to comply with the first provision, the District Attorney should sue out a writ of quo warranto against the bank and prosecute the same to final judgment; the third made provision that in case the bank did resume and afterwards at any time failed to pay its legal liabilities in gold and silver coin, it shall be the imperative duty” of the District Attorney to proceed as directed in the second section.
An attempt was made to amend this amendment by the addition of a clause substantially the same as the “and mortgage clause" quoted before. This amendment to the amendment was decided in the negative, having upon its second presentation gained only one vote—the vote being 5 yeas to 21 nays.
Further action upon the amendment went over until the next day. The reports of the Select Committee was made upon the petitions from Dubuque County. This report stated that of the 559 signers some were found to be "not naturalized, some not of age, some living in Illinois, some in Jackson and Jones Counties," and that many of the names were unknown to the chairman and he was unable to describe where they lived. After calling attention to the wording of the petition, Mr. Nowlin statest that he feels himself to be instructed by a "large and respectable portion" of the citizens of his district to support any measure that will compel the
1 Journal of House, p. 75. 2 Ibid, p. 76.
3 Journal of House, pp. 77–78. 4 Ibid, p. 78.