Imatges de pÓgina

"But whilst the department will have coined, from the 1st March, 1845, to 1st March, 1849, more than $40,000,000, the amount would have been augmented to the extent of several millions of dollars every year if there had been a branch of the mint at the city of New York. This is proved by the fact that most of the foreign coin sent from New York and other points to Philadelphia for coinage has been that portion which was received for government dues and transferred mainly, not by the people or the merchants, but by order of this department from the several government depositories ; and but little coin comparatively has gone from New York, transmitted voluntarily by individuals, for recoinage to Philadelphia. Individuals will not, to any great extent, subject themselves to the risk, expense, and delay of this process ; whereas the whole of the coin and bullion, amounting to many millions of dollars, that comes to New York by the operations of commerce or by emigration—now a very large sum --would be changed into American coin if there was a mint in that city.”

Since the case in its plain justice was thus stated by Mr. Walker, many of the considerations named by him have acquired greater force. The amount of coinage named by him as that of the whole country, from the 1st of March, 1845, to the 1st of March, 1849, was about $40,000,000, while the amount of gold and silver sent from New York alone to Philadelphia for coinage last year, (October, 1860, to October, 1861,) was more than $58,000,000. The whole amount of gold coined in 1849 at the mint in Philadelphia, and at the branches in New Orleans, Charlotte, and Dahlonega, was $9,007, 761, or less than one-sixth of the amount of gold sent from New York for coinage last year alone. The annual average amount of the bullion thus sent from the assay office, New York, during the seven years of its existence, was $15,301,346. Since 1849 the commerce of New York has increased from $138,530,469 to $349.045,526 in 1860, having been multiplied almost threefold.

The full importance of coinage at New York, the central focus for trade in the precious metals on this the chief continent for their production, may never be perceived until the leading commercial nations of the world have adopted an uniform system of decimal coinage, a project which is already regarded with much favor by many thoughtful and philanthropic individuals in various countries, and would conduce greatly to the advantage of mankind by facilitating commerce and rendering the common representative of value in every nation intelligible to every civilized man. A greatly increased proportion of the bullion arriving at New York would then be coined there, if the desired facilities for that purpose are granted, and would become an universal currency throughout the globe.

A decimal system of division already prevails by law in nearly every country of the European continent, except Germany and Russia. Not long ago a committee of the House of Commons in Great Britain, reported in favor of its adoption, and Congress in 1857 directed the Secretary of the Treasury to appoint a coiumuissioner to confer with the proper functionaries of the British government in relation to a plan for arranging the coinage of England and the United States on the same basis.

The present and increasing necessity for the privileges to be granted by the accompanying bill, admits of no doubt or question. It is amply proved by statistical records.

Among the trusts confided to Congress by the Constitution of the United States is the "power to coin money and regulate the value thereof." A faithful performance of this trust requires that the necessary facilities for coinage should be established in the city of New York, where bullion can be coined with the greatest degree of economy to the government and the greatest degree of convenience to the largest number of our citizens.

The Committee on Commerce would therefore recommend that a coinage department be established in the United States assay office, in the city of New York, and herewith report a bill for that purpose.

H. Rep. Com. 10642

2d Session. $

No. 107.


[To accompany bill H. R. No. 136.]

May 15, 1862.-Ordered to be printed.

Mr. SHEFFIELD, from the Committee on Commerce, made the following


The Committee on Commerce, to whom was committed a bill " to expe.

dite the final disposition of revenue actions in the collection district of the city of New York, and for other purposes,and the letters of the Secretary of the Treasury of December 19, 1861, "relative to the appointment of a solicitor of customs for the collection district of New York, and to expedite revenue actions in said district,report:

That they have considered the subject referred to them, and have come to the conclusion to recommend to the House that it pass the bill with sundry amendments.

The merits and demerits of the bill have been fully discussed in the public press and otherwise. The grounds upon which those who sustain the measure base their support of it are, that the revenue laws, comprising acts of Congress, treasury directions, and the usages of trade, constitute a separate and distinct department of our jurisprudence, and that it requires a peculiar and special knowledge of ihese laws in the legal adviser of the officers of the customs to facilitate the collection of the revenue, and that the same knowledge is requisite to the successful prosecution of revenue cases before the judicial tribunals; that the vast and complicated business at the custom-house in New York, requires a person who will be competent and ready to give advice upon and to direct action with becoming promptitude under the revenue laws; that this is necessary to protect the interest of the government, and to afford just facilities to those who transact business at the custom-house. It is said that the district attorney selected, as he too often is, from the ranks of the profession, more with reference to his claims upon a political party than to his qualification to discharge the duties which may be required of him; or, that if he is not so selected, and is selected solely with reference to his general professional qualifications, that he may be very little versed in the knowledge of this speciality in our jurisprudence, and be very illy qualified to advise and direct with becoming promptitude, upon the construction and proper mode of executing the revenue laws.

Great delays are necessarily incident to the present system, which occasions losses to the government and to those doing business at the custom-house. These delays add to the expense of the government in taxes and often costs, and subject it to great losses by the insolvency of litigants and their stipulators.

It is represented that there are about six hundred cases, arising under the revenue laws, now pending in the courts of the city of New York, some of which were commenced some ten or eleven years since. Four hundred and eighty of those suits are pending against collectors, and involved therein is several hundred thousand dollars. Again, delay operates peculiarly adverse in revenue causes. Many of these cases depend upon evidence to be elicited from seamen— class of witnesses that cannot be detained from their business but at great cost to the government, and sometimes much inconvenience to those from whoin the testimony is to be obtained, and whose absence may sometimes be facilitated, if not procured, by parties whose interest is adverse to that of the government. The other taxable costs, too, incident to these delays, are heavy charges upon the treasury, or upon property, the proceeds of which ought to go to the treasury. Again, it is said that the duties of the district attorney, other than those arising under the revenue lays, are quite sufficient to occupy the attention of that officer ; and that the passage of the bill will diminish the expenses of the office of the district attorney, as well as the judicial expenses in collecting the revenue.

If half what is claimed for this measure is realized, the saving in witness, marshal, and clerk's fees, with the per diem of attendance of the other officers of the court, will save to the treasury far more than the mere expense of the salary of the officer created hereby.

In opposition to the bill, it is alleged that the delays referred to are occasioned by the want of additional judicial force in the southern district of New York; and that it provides for the creation of a new office, which would add to the expenses of the government.

The first of these arguments must be slightly changed now, according to a proposed change of the facts upon which it is based. The Senate have already passed an act giving an additional judge to this judicial district.

The case then is presented in the aspect of the present state of the judiciary in the city of New York, and in the light of the proposed addition to that force. Your committee could hardly bring their minds to the belief that the facts before them justify the conclusion that these very great and injurious delays in the trial and determination of revenue causes can be properly attributed to the want of sufficient judicial force. It is well known to this committee that the judges of judicial districts out of the city of New York, have been frequently called in to aid the very accomplished magistrate who presides over the court in that district, in the discharge of his onerons duties. And with such aid, it cannot be that so many causes have

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