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Mr. Hughes' amendment was to add to the resolution the words “and that the limitation of time for commencing suits be one year instead of five years."
Robert S. Taylor, of Indiana :
I think I may say for the committee that they will be glad to accept the amendment the gentleman has proposed. This being a bill already pending, the committee do not feel called upon to go minutely into all the possible iniprovements that might be made to it, as they felt content to approve the general principles of the bill. But I think the suggestion made by the gentleman is a good one and that the bill would be improved by a limitation to a shorter time.
The committee having accepted the amendment, the question is upon the resolution offered by the committee with this amendment, which they have accepted.
The resolution as amended was adopted.
Ilas Judge Taylor anything further to report from his committee?
Robert S. Taylor :
No, sir; except to say this : Trusts and combinations was another subject referred to the committee, with directions to make suggestions of such means as might be made effectual to discriminate in law between those trusts and combinations that are injurious to society, and those that are not; and, while the committee has had the subject under consideration, and has given it attention, I am sorry to say that we have not been able to agree upon a report.
The committee will be granted further time by unanimous consent.
The report of the Committee on Judicial Administration and Remedial Procedure is next in order.
The report of the committee was read by Alvin J. McCrary, of Iowa.
(See the Report in the Appendix.) The President: The report of the committee will be received and filed.
The report of the Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. That order will be passed for the present, as there does not seem to be any member of that committee in the hall at this moment.
Next is the report of the Committee on Commercial Law. Walter S. Logan, of New York:
Our report has been printed and I shall not read it. Those of you who are interested in the subject, have read it and understand it, and those of you who are not interested, would not understand it if I should read it now.
The constitution makers, among the privileges and powers conferred on the general government invested it with the power to pass a bankruptcy law and this was by no means the least important of the powers granted to it. During the onward march of that constitution of which you have heard so much and so eloquently to-day, Congress has passed several bankruptcy laws which have been afterwards repealed. Our committee and this Association took the ground at the last meeting that the present bankruptcy law was beneficent legislation and that it should become a part of the permanent jurisprudence of the American Nation, but that a bankruptcy law which was to become such a permanent part of our jurisprudence should be a law which was worthy of its place; a law that was just and clean; a law which was fair to both debtor and creditor; it should not be a one-sided law.
The committee reports this year along the same lines. We have, during the year, kept in touch with committees of both houses of Congress and with the department of the United States Attorney-General's office which has had charge of bankruptcy matters, and we have watched the course of legislation and have tried to guide it along the lines which the
Association last year recommended. The Ray Bill is now pending before Congress, and we have formally approved of that bill as a committee, and we now ask the Association to approve it. It makes a cleaner bankruptcy law. It makes the bankruptcy law more worthy to become a permanent part of American jurisprudence.
We have recommended some other amendments not immaterial, but not crucial, which you will find in our report.
The main thing, however, which our committee has done during the past year is to consider the question of the involuntary part of the bankruptcy law. We have thought that it should be a law not simply for the debtor, but for the creditor and the debtor; that it should not be a one-sided law; that it should be a creditor and debtor law. That while it afforded an abundant remedy for the unfortunate debtor to be released from the incubus of his debts, it should also afford some remedy by which the creditor might lay his hand upon the reckless or improvident or fraudulent debtor in time, if possible, to save some part of his debt. We have formulated amendments to the involuntary part of the bankruptcy law looking to the accomplishment of this result. Among other things. we propose to increase the acts of bankruptcy. The present acts of bankruptcy provide no way for a creditor to reach recklessness, fraud or improvidence on the part of the debtor soon enough to do any good.
You have read the amendments proposed in our report. They are substantially to the effect that where a debtor is found to be wasting his assets by gambling-whether that gambling takes place at the roulette wheel or on Wall Street, State street or Chestnut street —where he is recklessly managing the property which is needed to pay his debts, the creditor may come forward, and say, “You may waste your own substance as much as you please, but you shall not be allowed without limit to waste mine."
We have appreciated the difficulties in the way of such provisions. It is by no means an easy matter to frame amendments which will cover the principle and enforce the remedy which we are seeking, but we have tried to do so, and in the discussion, if any takes place, on the bill to-day, I ask you not to make it a mere verbal discussion, that is, not to criticise the bill along merely verbal lines, for we are not wedded by any means to the words we have employed in any of the amendments which we seek to have adopted, but we ask that this Association support us in the position that the bankruptcy law shall be a creditor's law, as well as a debtor's law; that it shall furnish remedies to the creditor as well as to the debtor; that it shall enable a man to collect his debt which the debtor is trying to evade, as well as enable a debtor to avoid paying a debt he doesn't wish to pay. We believe that this is the only way in which the bankruptcy law can become a permanent part of American jurisprudence. We believe you must make it a law which the creditor will accept as well as the debtor. Really the whole thing is for the debtor's benefit, because the more you extend and make secure the system of credits, the more the debtor can get credit. If you strike at the credit system, you are striking at the debtor more than you are at the creditor. If you do anything to impair that system, you are making the debtor suffer more than the creditor. The creditor may lose his profits or his interest, but the debtor loses his business. And we ask this Association to support us in asking of Congress that it make the bankruptcy law a law which instead of impairing credits, will make credits more secure; a law which, instead of being an incubus upon trade and commerce, will be a law
which the trade and commerce of the nation can be built up and extended.
I think you are all familiar with the report that we have made, and I ask leave to introduce the following resolution in order that the subject may be before the Association :
First. — That the report of the committee be received and adopted.
Second.—That the committee be instructed to urge upon Congress the amendment of the bankruptcy law on the lines suggested in their report.
Third.—That the committee continue its study of the scope and operation of the law, and make a further report thereon, with such recommendations as seem to them expedient, at the next meeting of the Association.
I repeat that the committee do not wish to be confined to the precise language that is used in any of their proposed amendments. We ask you to support the committee and to adopt these resolutions if you believe with us that it is possible to amend the bankruptcy law along these lines, so that it shall be a law which protects the creditor as well as relieves the debtor--a law upon which you can base the credit system of the nation rather than a law which shall destroy or impair credits.
We do not believe in the year of jubilee which has been proposed by one amendment that has been introduced in the House of Representatives. That one year in five the bankruptcy law shall have effect. But we believe with the framers of the constitution, that a bankruptcy law is beneficial legislation and should be a permanent part of the Nation's jurisprudence; but we must make it a law clean, just and fair; a law which protects the creditor as well as relieves the debtor.
We have with us today, Mr. Brandenburg, from the office of the Attorney-General of the United States, who represents the Department of Justice. He has had charge of bankruptcy matters as far as the Attorney General's office is concerned. We have also with us a number of Referees in Bankruptcy, and I hope they may have something to say upon this subject, and for that purpose I ask that they be entitled to the privileges of the floor and to be invited to take part in this discussion if they wish to do so.
E. F. Bullard, of New York :
I make the motion that Mr. Brandenburg be invited to address the Association upon this subject.
The question is on the motion of the Chairman of the committee that the report of the committee be received and