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amended was finally referred to a Select Committee, after unsuccessful attempts to refer it to the Committee on Judiciary and the Committee on Incorporations.
2. Report of the Select Committee on Banks.
On October 25th the Select Committee on Banks submitted its report3 to the convention. They recommended that the portion of the amended report of the Committee on Incorporations that referred to one bank (Sec. I) be indefinitely postponed, and added section 4.
The report as amended and re-arranged by the Select Committee now consisted of the following sections: Sec. 2.
The assent of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the Legislature, shall be requisite to the passage of every law, for granting, continuing, altering, amending, or renewing any act of incorporation.
Sec. 3. No ar“ of incorporation shall continue in force for a longer period an twenty years, without the re-enactment of the Legislati e, unless it be an incorporation for public improvement.
Sec. 4. The General Assembly shall create no bank or banking institution, or corporation with banking privileges in this State, unless the charter with all its provisions shall be submitted to a vote of the people at a general election for State officers, and receive a majority of all the votes of the qualified electors of the State.
Sec. 5. The personal and real property of the individual members of the corporation hereafter created, shall at all times be liable for the debts due by any such corporation.
Sec. 6. The Legislative Assembly shall have power to repeal all acts of incorporations by them granted.
These sections followed very closely the different articles of other State Constitutions and the principles of the banking laws of other States. The second section followed very closely the requirements of the Constitution of New Jersey. The period of incorporation was, of course, common in nearly
Journal of Convention, p. 107. 2 Hall, Galbraith, Bailey, Langworthy, Evans, Chapman, Randolph. 3 Journal of Convention, p. 121. 4 Required 3-5 for granting, altering, continuing or renewing.
all charters granted by the different States. The fifth section was found in the laws of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. It is almost an exact copy of the law of Massachusetts. In Pennsylvania the power was reserved to the Legislature to repeal charters as provided in the sixth section of this report. The provisions of the fourth section in regard to submitting the question to the people is found in many of the constitutions, and also in many of the laws in regard to the establishment of banks.
This report was taken up for consideration by the Convention on the 28th of October. An attempt was made to change the provision of the fourth section requiring that the vote giving assent to the incorporation of a bank should be a majority of all qualified electors in the State to a majority of those casting a vote upon the question; but this was lost by a vote of 21 to 44. This was followed by a series of amendments of all kinds and conditions. Seemingly every delegate with a “pet provision” sought to have it inserted. An especial attack was made by the means of amendments, to have the restrictions already adopted applied to banking corporations alone, leaving other corporations exempt from them.
In the debate upon the different amendments exempting corporations from the restrictions applied to banks, a special appeal was made by the Whig members to the delegates from the southern portion of the State as to the need of corporate bodies for carrying on the internal improvements of the State, such as slack-water navigation of Des Moines river. But all attempts to pass amendments to exempt other corporations than banking institutions from these restrictions were futile.
The radical anti-bank delegates were defeated in an attempt to amend so that "no bank of circulation shall be established in this State" by a vote of 16 to 52. An attempt to postpone the establishment of any bank until 1860 was also defeated.
The requirement of a "two-thirds” vote to charter a bank was changed to a "majority;" and in the same section submitting the charter to the vote of the electors the phrase "and 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.
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: “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
1 Capital Reporter, November 9, 1844.
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 insti
1 November 20, 1844. 2 November 22, 1844,