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conducting of the controversy, on the part of the general government, and managed it with great talent. He was now found to be one of the first to overlook the errors of his political opponents. His charity on this subject was much in advance of that of the legislature. No vote in either house, could be obtained for the allowance of the obnoxious claims.

The subject of establishing a uniform system of bank.' rupt laws, was again brought before congress. In the house of representatives, it was referred to the committee on the judiciary, who reported, that it was inexpedient to legislate upon the subject.

Imprisonment for debt. In the senate, a bill passed, entitled an act to abolish imprisonment for debt. It provided, that no bail or other surety should be required of the defendant to hold him to trial on any process issuing from the United States courts, unless upon a suggestion to be made at the time of issuing the process, verified by affidavit, and proved on the return of the writ, that the defendant was about to withdraw himself, with his property, from the state; and that no execution, or other final process in civil suits should isssue against the body of the debtor, except upon a. like suggestion, or on an allegation of the fraudulent concealment of property, on which issue might be taken, and trial had before the court having jurisdiction of the cause.

Origin of the bill for its abolishment. This bill had its origin in the pecuniary embarrassments of the west, subsequent to the war. Those inland states, though fertile beyond comparison with the east, in the production of almost every article necessary for human sustenance, were without a staple which would bear the expense of transportation to a distant market, and yield a cash return. In the early stages of their settlement, emigrations were abundant; the new comers brought specie, and afforded a ready market for the surplus produce of those who had gone before them. As the population increased, emigrations diminished, specie became scarce ; that which had been previously brought was rapidly returning to the east. Pecuniary embarrassments to a great extent were felt by many persons of real wealth, who, when money was plenty, had incautiously contracted debts without foreseeing the consequences. There was at this period no sound circulating medium in the west, in any measure adequate to the wants of the citizens. Re. course was had to the establishment of numerous banking institutions, most of which were bottomed, not upon any

specie capital actually paid in, but upon the private notes of the stockholders, furnishing no grounds for any safe system of banking operations. Banks which meant to maintain their credit, and be what they professed, could do but very little business ; those which put their credit at hazard by extensive discounts soon found themselves obliged to stop payment. A circulating medium by which commerce could be carried on, and debtors enabled to meet the demands of their creditors, was not supplied by these institutions. On general principles, regulating the intercourse of society, nothing can satisfy the demands of a creditor, but the payment in specie of the amount of his debt; or the delivery of some equivalent which he is willing to receive. While these principles were rigidly adhered to, property was constantly passing from debtor to creditor, regulated in amount, only by the conscience of the latter.

Relief laws of Kentucky. To relieve her citizens from their pecuniary embarassments resulting from such a state of things, Kentucky, the eldest sister of the west, undertook an experimental essay, in legislation on the subject of the relations between debtor and creditor. The debtor in. terest became predominant in the legislative and executive branches of the government. It found itself trameled by that clause of the constitution, which provides, that “no state shall emit bills of credit, or make any thing but gold or silver coin a tender in payment of debts ;” and by an intelligent and independent national judiciary, competent to pronounce any law invalid, which should infringe upon the principles of that instrument. Under the denomination of relief, or as they were more familiarly called stop laws, a system of legislation was adopted, calculated to release the debtor from the obligation of his contract, or enable him for a long period to evade payment. A bank was established, in which the state was much the largest stockholder,and of which it had the direction, without a specie capital, authorized to make loans on landed security for long periods, and to issue bills promising to pay the amount specified on the face of them, on demand, with no expectation of a fulfilment, or provision for that purpose, other than what might be obtained from the redemption of the mortgages, or sale of the property at some future period. In this scheme, debtors found a ready mode of obtaining money of a certain character. It was evident, however, that this was, to every practical purpose, only a renewal of the old paper money system, which had long since, by universal consent, been abandoned ;

and that, in short, it was nothing less than an ingenious at. tempt to evade the constitution. The bills, answering no purpose for remittance, rapidly depreciated ; creditors refused to receive them, and debtors found themselves unrelieved. Their credit was attempted to be sustained by a law, providing, that in all cases where a creditor refused to receive bills in satisfaction of a judgment, execution should be suspended on certain terms for two years. Another provision was likewise made, that when property was taken upon execution, it might, at the option of the debtor, be appraised, and if it could not be sold for two thirds of its appraised value, no sale was to be made. The national judiciary uniformly decided that laws of this character were unconstitutional, as operating to impair the obligation of contracts. The supreme court of the state, notwithstanding the popular excitement, with an independence honorable to their character, conformed to this decision. Debtors were still unrelieved. The judges, holding their offices by the state constitution, by a permanent tenure, were not removable at the pleasure of the legislature.

New organization of their courts. Another experiment of a singular nature was resorted to. The legislature repealed the judiciary act under which the court was constituted, and immediately re-enacted another, and appointed a new set of judges. The old court denied the constitutionality of this proceeding, claimed the right of exercising their judicial functions, and refused to recognize the existence of the new. The latter also entered upon their duties, denying the existence of any other supreme court than their own. Two su

ne courts, each claiming exclusive jurisdiction over the same matters, and denying the right of the other, sitting at the same time and place, produced a scene of con. fusion readily conceived and greatly to be deplored. Proceedings in the United States courts.

In the mean time, the United States courts proceeded in their regular

All cases within their jurisdiction, embracing all of any considerable magnitude, where the plaintiff was a fo. reigner or citizen of another state, were brought before those tribunals. Judgments were rendered and executions issued against the bodies and property of debtors in usual form, according to the provisions of the United States judiciary act of 1792. Nothing but specie payment, or the imprisonment of the debtor's body could satisfy these judgments. No stop laws of the state impeded their execution. The debtors, in these suits, were generally the retail merchants of Kentucky, the middle men, between the wholesale dealers in the east, and the consumers in their own neighborhoods, and while their bodies and property were exposed to execution on the judgments of the United States courts, the state laws prevented the collection of debts due them from their customers, the actual consumers of the goods which were unpaid for. Matters progressed in this downward course, involving the citizens of Kentucky in still greater difficul. ties at every stage, until a redeeming spirit in the people produced a change in their representation, which effected a reinstatement of the old court, and a repeal of the stop laws.

course.

The neighboring states watched the progress of this system of legislation in Kentucky with great interest, and anxiety. Its result taught them to avoid its evils—to submit to temporary inconveniences, which time and a rigid economy will always cure, rather than hazard the experiment of unsettling the principles on which commercial intercourse is based. During the early stages of this scene in Kentucky, and for the purpose of affording relief to a numerous class of citizens affected by judgments of the national courts, Mr. Johnson, a senator of that state, introduced the bill in question, and labored with untired assiduity in its support, for a number of sessions, and finally procured its passage through the senate. The house of representatives determined that they would not change the mode of collecting debts coeval with the existence of the states, nor interfere with the existing relations between debtor and creditor.

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CHAPTER XVI.

Presidential election of 1825-Different modes of designating the chief magis

trate in different countries-Original provisions of the American constitution-- Amendment in consequence of the election of 1801-Attempts to amend the constitution in the congress of 1823-4-Five candidates presented—Their claims-Mr. Calhoun withdrawn--Organization of the parties-preparation for the contest-Number of newspapers in the United States—Their influence--Different modes of choosing electors-Proceedings of New York-Congressional caucus-Its result---State of the eleetoral votes--Candidates returned to the house-Preparations for the caucus-Mr. Cla 's conduct impeached by Mr Kremer-Brought before the house, and a committee of investigation appointed at the instance of Mr. Clay-Their proceedings and report-Joint meeting on the 9th of February -State of the votes in the house--Mr. dams elected-Inauguration-Formation of the cabinei--Mr. Adams' course in relation to appointments and removals --Second meeting of the 18th congress-Message-Progress of the United States ander Mr Monroe's administration-Proceedings of congress-Mr Jolinson's bill to abolish imprisonment for debt-Debates on the the Cumberland road bill-Claims of the west on the subject of internal improvements.

Presidential election of 1825. The designation of a person to administer the government for the presidential term, commencing the 4th of March, 1825, early in Mr. Monroe's last period, began to be the subject of much discussion. In all well regulated governments it has become a settled axiom, that the executive branch must be sone and indivisible.' Under whatever title this power is exercised, whether that of president, king, consul, or emperor, the trust is of the highest magnitude.

Different modes of designating the executive. In the governments of the eastern continent, some fortunate indi. vidual in each has been able to secure to himself, and his posterity the enjoyment of this power. The eldest son, however inferior his capacity, has usually succeeded to the throne of his father, with as little controversy as the child comes to the inheritance of any other patrimony. In some instances, the reigning prince has been allowed to appoint a successor by will, and dispose of the territory and subjects of the nation, in the same manner that individuals are al. lowed to dispose of their acquisitions. In the few instances where the elective principle has been attempted, it has been

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