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MVB, Senate remarks on debt imprisonment bill, 17 March 1824

The fourth section of the original bill having been stricken out, yesterday, the question was upon inserting a new section, proposed in lieu of it, by Mr. Van Buren, which 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 been made by the debtor; and then, after summons to the party so charged, a jury shall be impannelled to try the fact; and, upon the finding of the fact, execution to issue against the body; the party to be deprived of the benefit of the prison bounds, until discharged by due course of law. Upon the summons aforesaid, the party so charged is to be required to give bail, to respond to the summons. Mr. Hayne had moved to amend the proposed section, 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 fier facias. Mr. Hayne withdrew his amendment, to give place to others proposed, in the details of the section, by Mr. Van Buren, which were adopted; and Mr. H. then renewed his motion, and made some remarks in favor of it. The amendment was then agreed to. An amendment proposed by Mr. Eaton was rejected. The question was then taken upon inserting the section, as thus amended, and carried in the affirmative.

Mr. Branch moved to amend the bill, by inserting a new section, providing that no person, who shall have been convicted, by a jury, under the provisions of this act, of an intention to defraud persons holding just claims against him, by the conveyance or concealment of property, shall be competent to give evidence, in any matter, either civil or criminal, which may come before the courts of the United States. This amendment was supported by the mover, and opposed by Messrs. Johnson, of Kentucky, Holmes, of Maine, Talbot, Lanman, and Van Buren. The amendment was rejected.

Mr. Kelly suggested some points in which he considered the bill as being yet deficient, in relation to the means of the creditor to compel the debtor to surrender his property; to which suggestions Mr. Van Buren replied.

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Source: <em>Annals of Congress</em>
Collection: N/A
Series: Series 4 (3 December 1821-31 December 1824)