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even banks in many cases to refuse loans to perfectly solvent business men. This conservatism, usually as extreme as was the expansion preceding, has the effect of bringing on a money panic, which, re-acting on the situation, in its turn aggravates the crisis. The result of the crisis is a fall in prices usually (by a reaction that is quite natural) to a point below the normal level. Debts are wiped out. A period of inaction, of extreme depression, follows, followed in turn by moderate prosperity, increasing to extreme prosperity, ending as before. The recurrence of these events shows a certain periodicity, the period in England being about ten years. In this country the period has been more irregusar, 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1884, having witnessed commercial crises. · The War of 1812 was followed by a rise in prices, followed by money stringency and large declines. This was brought about partly by calls of the government on the Bank of the United States for funds to meet $7,500,000 of maturing stock of the issue that had furnished funds to pay for the Territory of Louisiana. This compelled the bank largely to reduce its discounts. The panic of 1837 was due to speculation in western lands, the sales of which in twenty-six months amounted to $41,000,000. The sales for the previous forty years had amounted to but $49,000,000. This speculative fever had been aided by the deposit of government funds in State banks. (See Pet Banks.) The specie circular of the government requiring payments for lands to be made in coin, caused many of these banks to suspend, and the crisis was precipitated. Specie payments were suspended in May, 1837, by all banks except the State Bank of Missouri. Specie was worth a premium of about twelve per cent. Specie payments were resumed on April 16, 1838, by three Boston banks, and in the next month they were generally resumed. The next suspension of specie payment took place in October, 1857, but in sixty days it was again resumed. The drain of the Civil War caused the suspension of specie payments by the government, as well as by the banks, on December 30, 1861, but this
suspension was not accompanied by a panic. Specie payments were not resumed until January 1, 1879. Meanwhile the suspension forced gold to a premium, and it became an article of merchandise. Its highest point was reached in July, 1864, when it sold at 285. The crisis of 1873 was due principally to excessive railroad building. In New York the panic was so great that the New York Stock Exchange was for twelve days closed for business. The banks suspended currency payments, but after forty days they again resumed. Business passed through the usual stages, and by 1879 a season of prosperity had again set in. It continued to increase until July, 1881. The assassination of President Garfield on the second of that month being the epoch from which the decline in prices is usually dated. This gradual decline continued, with occasional reactions, until in May, 1884, another panic set in. Money rose to three per cent. per day and stocks dropped rapidly, but rates for money soon declined to more moderate figures. The banks in New York, the center of the panic, aided each other in carrying securities of doubtful value, thus limiting the asualties among the banks to one failure and one suspension. The usual depression followed. In 1886 business was slowly recovering, and the usual period of inflation may next be expected.
Committee of the Whole in legislative assemblies is a committee consisting of all the individual members of the assembly. When an assembly goes into committee of the whole, the presiding officer surrenders the chair, usually to some member named by him. When the committee has finished the consideration of the subjects entrusted to it, the presiding officer of the assembly resumes the chair, and the chairman of the committee reports to the assembly, which may then take action on the report just as on the report of any other committee. The rules and powers of the committee of the whole differ materially from those of the assembly, and it is for the purpose of gaining the greater freedom and expedition thus afforded that the fiction of a com
mittee of the whole is made use of. The United States Senate does not resolve itself into committee of the whole. In that body it is simply moved that a subject be considered “as in committee of the whole.” This is called a quasi committee. In legislative bodies the assistant clerk acts as clerk of the committee, and the journal of the House does not contain the proceedings of the committee, only its report to the House. In committee of the whole a member may speak on the same question as often as he can obtain the floor, the previous question or reconsideration cannot be moved, nor can motions, appeals or amendments be laid on the table. In the House of Representatives of Congress, every public bill and all measures relating to religion, trade, revenue or the grant of public money, must be considered in committee of the whole before being considered by the House.
Committee of Ways and Means. (See Ways and Means, Committee of.)
Committees. In order to facilitate the work of Congress, the Senate and the House have each a number of standing committees on a variety of subjects, and any measures introduced are referred to the committee within the scope of whose labors they properly fall. These committees are appointed at the beginning of a Congress, and remain in existence throughout its life. The power of these committees is very great, for a measure may be delayed by them and thus practically killed, or adversely reported, in which case its chances of success are nearly hopeless. On the other hand, it is within the power of a committee to press any particnlar measure upon the attention of Congress. Most of the real work on bills is done in committee, the vote in the House being frequently only a hurried and illconsidered proceeding. Among the most important standing committees are the Committee of Ways and Means, Appropriations Committee (in the House), Finance Committee (in the Senate), Banking and Currency, etc.
In the House the Speaker appoints these committees; in the Senate they are nominally voted for,
but they are really arranged by the caucus of the majority. Joint committees are standing committees of both Houses acting together. Select committees are appointed for the investigation of particular subjects. Committees of conference are committees appointed by each House in order to confer on points in dispute between the Houses.
Compound Duties. (See Customs Duties.)
Compromise of 1850.-For more than a year after the termination of the Mexican War, the territory acquired by that war had remained under military rule. But in 1850 California adopted a constitution prohibiting slavery, and then applied for admission. The slave States would not agree to admit her unless a new slave State were also formed. At the same time the organization of the newly acquired territory came up for discussion. Henry Clay then proposed a compromise, which, having been referred to a select committee of thirteen, of which he was chairman, was reported by them in substantially the same shape as proposed. It provided for: 1. The postponement of the admission of new States to be formed out of Texas until demanded by such State. 2. The admission of California as a free State. 3. The organization, without the Wilmot Proviso, of all territory acquired from Mexico, and not included in California, as the Territories of New Mexico and Utah. 4. The combination of the last two measures in one bill. 5. The establishment of the boundaries of Texas and the payment to her of $10,000,000 for the abandonment of her claim to New Mexico. 6. More effectual laws for the return of fugitive slaves. 7. Abolishing the slave trade in the District of Columbia, but leaving slavery there undisturbed. These measures all became laws, and together were commonly known as the Omnibus Bill. It is charged that the indemnity of $10,000,000, the payment of which raised the market value of Texas securities from twenty or thirty to nearly par, was not without influence in the passage of the bill. The KansasNebraska Bill, passed in 1854, virtually repealed this compromise.
Compromises of the Constitution. On three points did the convention of 1787, framing the Constitution, come to a stage at which further progress seemed impossible. From this sprang three compromises. The result of the first was the present system of a Senate containing two members from each State, regardless of size, and a House whose members are apportioned to the population. (See Apportionment.) Rhode Island was never represented in the convention, and New Hampshire not until after this subject was disposed of. There were therefore eleven States, and these were divided as follows: Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, six, known as the “large States," against New York, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware, five, known as the “small States." The former desired representation according to population, the national system, the latter by States, or the federative system. A compromise was effected, the present system being the result. One of the most serious evils of the Confederation was the powerlessness of Congress to regulate commerce. The commercial States were all in favor of giving to Congress complete control of this subject, nor were the other States generally opposed to this, except in this, that the Southern States, whose industries consisted almost exclusively in the cultivation of rice, tobacco and a few other articles, objected strenuously to any possibility by which an export tax could at any time be imposed on these articles, as any such proceeding would tend to cripple the entire State. The second compromise was accordingly made, complete control over commerce being given to Congress, except that a tax on exports was prohibited. (Article 1, section 4, clause 5.) The third compromise was on the question of slavery. Georgia and South Carolina refused to enter the Union if the slave trade were to be prohibited or discriminated against. It was then that Article 1, section 9, clause 1, was agreed on, forbidding Congress to prohibit the slave trade prior to the year 1808, but permitting the imposition of a tax thereon not to exceed ten dollars a head.