MVB, Senate remarks on debt imprisonment bill, 16 March 1824
Mr. Van Buren made a few remarks, in explanation of his amendment. The question was upon adopting his substitute for the first section of the bill; which substitute provides that, on an affidavit of the debtor's intention to leave the country, substantiated by the evidence of two credible witnesses, the creditor shall have a right to hold him to bail.
Mr. Mills suggested several amendments to this section. One of which, proposing to strike out the clause requiring the evidence of two witnesses, in order to hold to bail, gave rise to some debate; in which Messrs. Mills, Talbot, and Taylor, of Virginia, advocated, and Messrs. Barbour and Van Buren, opposed it. The amendment was agreed to.
An amendment proposed by Mr. Talbot, subjecting the creditor, if there should not appear to have been sufficient cause for holding to bail, to a suit for damages, was discussed, and subsequently withdrawn by the mover. The question upon the substitute for the first section, as proposed by Mr. Van Buren, was then put, and carried in the affirmative.
The substitute for the fourth section was then taken up.
Mr. Van Buren stated the difference between the two sections. The original section in the bill provides that on a return of no property found, upon a fieri facias, the plaintiff may file an affidavit that he has good cause to believe that a fraudulent conveyance, or concealment of property, has taken place; and then, after summons to the party, so charged, a jury shall be impannelled to try the fact, &c. The proposed amendment provides, that the party so charged shall be held to bail, on receiving such summons, to respond to it. This amendment was supported by Messrs Van Buren, Mills, and Brown, and opposed by Messrs. Eaton, Talbot, and Johnson, of Kentucky. The question was then taken on striking out the fourth section of the original bill, and decided in the affirmative. The question before the Senate, was then upon inserting the section proposed by Mr. Van Buren, in lieu of the fourth section. Mr. Hayne proposed to amend the amendment, so as to permit the creditor to file the affidavit of his belief of a fraudulent intention to convey or conceal property, upon the judgment or decree of the court, without waiting for the return of the fieri facias. Without taking the question, the Senate, on motion of Mr. Talbot, adjourned till to-morrow.