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3. The Effects of the First Investigation.
To a portion of the community,' the friends of the bank, the report of December, 1837, of the majority of the committee was perfectly satisfactory. In an editorial of the Iowa News calling attention to the reports of the results of the investigation of the banks of the Territory, it was stated that the Miners' Bank was now proven to be in a safe and sound condition and that no violations of the privileges of the charter had taken place. The writer also deprecated the attempts that had been made to injure the credit of the bank, not only at home but also abroad, as it was evident to all fair minded persons that it was a direct injury to the whole community. It was clearly shown that previous to this time the community had suffered from the evil effects of a currency made up
of the bills of banks of nearly all the different states of the Union; and that in most cases it was impossible to decide which was good money and which was not. But, if the growth of the business of the bank was not hampered and even prevented by these attempts, then the community would be supplied with a currency, the character of which would be known at all times, and the natural tendency would be for this money to take the place of the former mixed currency with which they had been afflicted.
Again in the January 5th issue of the Iowa News, the editor re-asserted that to his knowledge the Miners' Bank of Dubuque was one of the "most solvent institutions in the country," and that “it is with surprise mingled with indignation” that he perceived that certain persons who were actuated by “malevolent and base motives” were seeking to "stir up popular excitement against it.” The statement was also made that the bank had always promptly paid all of its own notes in specie, and was exchanging its own post notes for the notes of other banks, not redeeming them in specie. It called attention to the fact that it was obvious to all that those "who were endeavoring to create this excitement among the people, by raising false reports and garbled statements," were actuated by “personal pique against the Directors;" and that this action upon their part entitled them to nothing but contempt from all.
1 Iowa News, December 9, 1837.
The character of this report and of the editorials in the lowa News was not such as to quiet the opposition to the bank. After an ineffectual attempt to secure the privilege of having printed in the Iowa News an article already written, and of one not yet written, the opposing faction had recourse in having their articles printed in the Miners' Free Press' of Mineral Point, and in other papers of the territory.
This newspaper war was followed up by flooding the Legislature with affidavits and statements, both for and against the financial condition of the bank. These were referred to a select committee which reported that a joint committee should be appointed to investigate the affairs and conditions of the Miners' Bank of Dubuque. In accordance with this recommendation, a joint committee of two from each house was appointed; and was to make a report at the extra session of June, 1838.
The Second Investigation. (a) The Interrogatories and Answers.
The select committee appointed under a Joint Resolution of the Council and the House of Representatives of Wisconsin Territory, on the 19th day of January, 1838, to investigate the conditions and affairs of the Miners' Bank of Du Buque, met at the town of Du Buque on February 3rd, 1838, and proceeded to discharge the duties assigned to it.
Mr. Thos. McKnight was chosen chairman, and Joseph T. Fales, Clerk.
The committee addressed to the President and Cashier of the Bank the following communications : MESSRS. LOCKWOOD & MARTIN,
Gentlemen :-The undersigned have been appointed a Special Committee by the Council and House of Representatives to
i Col. W. S. Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, was the editor. 2 Journal of House, 1837-38 p. 349. 3 Joint Resolution of January 19, 1838.
examine into the affairs and conditions of the Bank under your direction, in pursuance of the following resolutions, viz : Resolved by the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Wisconsin, that a Joint Committee of two from each House, be appointed to investigate the affairs and conditions of the Miners' Bank of Du Buque, that said committee have power after adjournment to visit the bank in person, examine its books and papers, count the money in its vaults, and to examine whether the said bank has complied with the provisions of its charter or not, and that they have power to issue subpænas and attachments, to compel the attendance of witnesses to testify on the subjects submitted to them by this resolution, and that said committee report at the extra session of the Legislative Assembly in June next.
ISAAC LEFLER, Speaker of H. R. Attest : JOHN CATLIN, Chief Clerk. “Copy."
In pursuance of the power vested in us, we respectfully address to you the following interrogatories, to which your answers in writing under oath or affirmation are requested:
Ist. What amount of capital has actually been paid in ?
2nd. In what kind of funds, how much specie, what amount of notes of other banks, and what banks ?
3rd. What is the amount of your bills in circulation, with what amount purport to be payable upon demand, and what amount after date ?
4th. What is the amount due the bank by directors and stockholders ?
5th. What is the amount of debts due by other persons ? 6th. What is the amount of debts due by corporations ?
7th. What is the amount of your deposites with other banks ?
8th. What is the amount of your real estate and other property ?
9th. What is the amount of bills of other Banks in your possession, and what banks ?
Ioth. What is the kind of funds with which your discounts have been made ?
IIth. And what amount of notes of each bank ?
12th. What is the amount of stock you hold in other banks or corporations ?
13th. Have you at any time refused the payment of specie for
your bills when demanded at your counter ?
14th. Have you at any time taken more than seven per cent. per annum in advance for loans and discounts ?
15th. Have any of the directors been indebted to the bank at one time to an amount exceeding the sum of five thousand dollars by loans, endorsements or otherwise ?
16th. Have you, upon discounted notes or drafts, given your notes payable to bearer, 12 months after date, and if so, was it agreed or understood that you would take such notes in payment of debts due the bank?
17th. Had you forty thousand dollars in specie on hand before
any bills or notes were issued ? 18th. If you have discounted with notes of other banks, will you receive the same notes in payments of debts due the bank ?
19th. Are your deposites in other banks general or special, and what are the amounts ?
Thos. McKNIGHT, Chr'm.
JAS. P. Cox.
February 3rd, 1838.
In reply the committee received the following:
MINERS' Bank, Du BUQUE, February 5th, 1838. Sir :-Your communication informing me that you had been appointed a special committee by a joint resolution of the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Wisconsin to investigate the affairs and conditions of the Miners' Bank of Du Buque, enclosing a copy of the resolution under which you act, was received on Saturday evening. With the same communication I received the interrogatories which you propounded relating to the condition of the bank. Enclosed you will receive answers to the same which are respectfully submitted to your consideration.
I am, Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
E. LOCKWOOD, President. To Hon. Thos. McKNIGHT,
Chairman of Com. of Investigation.
In answer to the interrogatory :
2nd. $40,000 in certificate for specie deposited in Detroit. $50,000 in notes of Jackson Co. Bank and Bank of Manchester in the State of Michigan, and $10,000 in specie and various other bank notes.
3rd. $14,030. $1,350 demand, $12,680 twelve months after date.
4th. $14,183. 5th. $39,525.78.
6th. We have certificates for $40,000 in specie deposited in Exchange office of Henry Brown & Co. in Detroit.
7th. We have no deposites in other banks. 8th. $950.
9th. $20,150, of which $19,520 are in Jackson County and Bank of Manchester, and $635 in Wisconsin and various other banks.
10th. Our discounts have been made in part with the notes of other banks and in part with notes of this Bank.
Itth. About $20,000 in Jackson Co. and Bank of Manchester, about $20,000 in the notes of this and other banks; it is impossible to ascertain the precise amount.
We hold no stocks in other banks or corporations. 13th. We have never declined paying for our bills when presented at our counter.
14th. We have never taken more than seven per cent. in advance on loans and discounts.
15th. No director has been indebted to this bank at any one time to the amount of $5,000.
16th. We have paid out post notes in the manner proposed, and have always received them in payment of debts due the bank without regard to maturity.
17th. We had made arrangements for $40,000 in specie, as referred to in our answer to the second question.
18th. We shall receive them in payment for any debt due the bank, which may have been created by the issues of these notes.
19th. We have no deposites, special or general, in other Banks.
E. LOCK WOOD, Pres.