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S I* E E C H

OP

MR. HUNTINGTON, OF CONNECTICUT,

ON

THE

AMENDMENT

TO

THE

BILL

*TO INCORPORATE T H E SUBSCRIBERS TO T H E FISCAL
BANK OF T H E UNITED S T A T E S , "

Jtm&btttiaiG

T H E A S S E N T OF T H E LEG£SHXXT<BE£ OF *tl*l!f-STATES TO T H *
S T A B L I S H M E N T C * CtP^CKS OF DISCOUNT A f ^ D B P O S I T
W I T H I N T H E I R R E S P E C T I V E TERRITORIAL. L I M I S 9

DELIVERED IN T H E S E N A T E O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S , JULY 3, 184L




WASHINGTON :
rKINTED AT THE MADISONIAN OFriCB.

1841,




SPEECH.

4991

T h e Senate having resumed the consideration of the (4 Bill to incorporate the subscribers to the Fiscal Bank of the United States," and the following amendment p r o p o s e d by Mr. RIVES, of Virginia, viz,
*' T h a t the said corporation shall establish a competent office of discount and deposit in a n y
S t a t e , by the assent of the Legislature of such State, whenever the directors may think fit so to>
ijo ; and when established, the office shall not be withdrawn without the assent of Congress ^
a n d the said corporation shall have power to commit the management of the said offices a n d
t h e business thereof respectively, to such persons, and under such regulations, as they shall
d e e m proper, not being contrary to law or constitution of the b a n k ; or, instead of e s t a b l i s h i n g such offices, it shall be lawful for the directors of the said corporation from time to>
t i m e to employ any individual, agent, or any other bank or banks, to be approved by the Secret a r y of the Treasury, at any place or places that they may deem safe and proper, to manager
a n d transact the business proposed as aforesaid, other than for the purposes of discount, and Ur
perform the duties hereinafter required of said corporation, to be managed and transacted hy
s u c h officers under such agreements and subject to such regulations as they shall deem juat

and proper."
A n d the substitute for the aforesaid amendment, proposed by Mr. B A Y A R D , OC
Etelaware, viz :

*« I t shall be lawful for thesaid corporation to establish agencies to consist of three or morep e r s o n s , or to employ any Bank or Banks at any place or places they may deem proper, to p e r form the duties hereinafter required of the said corporation as the fiscal agent of the G o v e r n m e n t , and to manage and transact the business of the said corporation other than the ordinary
b u s i n e s s of discounting promissory notes. T h a t is to say, the said corporation shall have the
r i g h t at such agencies, to receive deposits, to deal or trade in bills of exchange, gold or silver
c o i n , or bullion, or goods or lands purchased on execution, or taken bona fide in payment o f
d e b t s , or goods which shall be the proceeds of its lands and to circulate its notes. And, m o r e *
o v e r / i t shall be lawful for the said Board of Directors to convert such agencies into offices o f
discount and deposit unless the Legislature of any particular State in which such agency shall.
>!«* established, shall, at its next session after such agency is established, express its dissent
to *"—

JJeing before the Senate,
Mr- H U N T I N G T O N rose and addressed the Senate, in substance, as follows^
jtfr. President: W e have arrived, in the progress of this bill, at a point of great
interest and importance. T h e deep anxiety which is felt in every part of this chamber—by the friends, as well as the opponents of a National Bank—as to the amendm e n t now under consideration, is too obvious not to be perceived at a glance: and I
<wiU add, that the great solicitude which is manifested bv the public in general, i a .
reference to every important feature in the bill before the Senate, invests this amendm e n t with no inconsiderable importance. Partaking of this common sensibility and
anxiety, I have risen, under a deep sense of the responsibility imposed upon me, as
a n American Senator, to address the Senate. I am not willing to give a silent vole
u p o n this occasion. I ought not to be, 1 cannot be silent. I desire to state to the
S e n a t e , to the beloved Commonwealth which sent me here, and.to the Americans
p e o p l e , the reasons for the vote I intend to give upon this amendment. And this,
duty I shall endeavor to discharge in that spirit of courtesy and kindness^ which?.
i s due to respected friends from whom I differ on the question before us, but witlfc
that firmness which is due to the subject under discussion.
T h e amendment proposes to lay the axe at the root of one of the most prominent
features of the bill, as reported by the committee on the currency. A s one of th^t
committee, I approved of that feature* It was reported to the Senate with my cooccurrence and approbation- It asserts the right in Congress to authorize the establish*
m e n t of offices of discount and deposit in the several States, without their conseaU,
It provides for the exercise of that right, whenever it may be thought necessary or
useful* It looks to the Bank to be created, as a National Bank, designed for national*,
purposes, and to effect national objects. It views it, as a fiscal agent of the Govern


4
ment, proper, fit, and necessary for the collection, safe-keeping, transfer and disbursem e n t of the public revenue, and as calculated to regulate, most beneficially, the
exchanges of the country; to establish, and permanently secure a sound currency,
uniform, and equivalent every where to gold and silver, and by its benign operations,
to promote the general welfare, revive the business and industry of the country, and
advance its prosperity. It is designed to open a n e w the channels of business, w h i c h
have been for some time almost entirely closed, and once more to set in motion the
industry of the People, w h i c h has been so long paralyzed. T o attain these ends,
the institution is to be established for the whole country, by virtue of the authority
of the country, and to subserve the purposes of the entire country- W i t h this view,
the bill, as reported, provides that the directors may establish competent offices of
discount and deposit in any State, Territory, or District of the United States. In
this respect, it follows the old beaten track of former times. It pursues the path
w h i c h long experience has proved to be safe. It retains the provision i n the charters of both the preceding Banks, w h i c h for nearly half a century w a s found to
be beneficial. It repudiates untried experiments, and claims support, as well from the
character and object of the institution, as from the salutary effects it has heretofore
produced. It is a bill framed for no loral purposes, but to promote the welfare of the
whole People. S u c h is the nature and design of the power, and the anticipated result of the exercise of it, conferred by the section of the bill now under consideration.
T h e amendment proposes to limit this power. It is framed with the v i e w of abridging the exercise of it except upon condition. It takes from Congress the right to
establish oifices of discount, unconditionally, and requires the assent of the respective States to the establishment of them within their territorial limits. It looks a w a y
from the provision in the former charters ; it pays no regard to the experience of
forty years ; it introduces a new feature into the act of incorporation. It proposes to
insert, in the charter of a Bank created under an act of Congress, for the benefit
of the whole nation, w h o s e operations are to be co-extensive with the wants and
the territory of the nation, which is designed to extend its benefits to every section of
the country—in a word—of a National Bank, to be organized and put in operation for
national purposes, and to effect national objects ; it is proposed to insert in an act
incorporating such a Bank, a clause, limiting the power to establish offices of discount
in the several States, to such of the States as shall assent to the location of them
within their limits.
T h e Bank of the Nation is to be made to depend, for the
exercise of some of its most important functions, upon the will of the States.
The
Bank of the United States, to enable it to perform a part of its most important duties,
is to be made dependent upon the action of the State Governments- A B a n k for the
whole People is to be controlled by the will of a portion of that People,
I am opposed, under existing circumstances, and in view of existing facts, to
this amendment. I shall vote against it,
I do not say w h a t I might do under
other circumstances, should a state of things arise differing from that w h i c h n o w
exists, e 3I shalla nnot say, that even this amendment may not receive m y assent, if it
d
1 ne<? ^aiT
indispensable to secure to the country, even to a limited extent
only, theo nbenefits iofn aa national institution. W h e n the time arrives, (if it ever should,)
nd
•nl*i? c s i d e r a t o
disposition of such a question, I shall be ready to meet it. I
will then act as m y sense of duty shall require m e to do. At present, no such question
is pronosed for our decision, and I shall not anticipate it.
In the remarks I propose
to make, I shall confine them to the original amendment of the Senator from Virginia;
for the modification of it, proposed by the Senator from Delaware, has been just read,
and I have not had an opportunity to examine it with attention; I believe, h o w e v e r ,
it does not vary essentially trom the proposition of the Senator from Virginia, except
that it specifies, with more particularity, the powers and duties of the agencies proposed to be created in the several States, and instead of requiring the assent of the
S t a t e s , to be given in express terms, to the location of branches, presumes that assent, unless they dissent, in the manner pointed out. In these particulars, the original ;
amendment, and the proposition of the gentleman from Delaware differ, but tkey
are both open to the objections which I propose to submit against their adoption.
T h e r e are but t w o grounds upon w h i c h this amendment can ask the favorable notice
of the friends of a National Bank. Indeed, in the able and ingenious arguments w h i c h *
h a v e been addressed to the Senate, two only have been suggested, and one of them, •'
so far from having the support of, is utterly denounced by most of the Senators w h o *
have advocated and declared their intention to vote for the amendment. I feel confident, therefore, that if any other v i e w s favorable to this proposition could be presented,




5
t h e y would not have escaped the ingenuity and learning of the Senators who have add r e s s e d us. I proceed, then, to consider the reasons which have been urged to sustain
t h i s amendment, and repeat that they are all embraced in the following, viz:
1. T h a t Congress possess no power to locate offices of discount And deposit in the
r e s p e c t i v e States without their assent; and, therefore, that the provision which dec l a r e s that the directors of the Bank may establish competent offices of discount and
d e p o s i t in any State, Territory, or District, of the United States, and shall have power
t o c o m m i t the management of the said offices, and the business thereof, respectively,
t o s u c h persons, and under such regulations as they may deem proper, not being contrary to law, or to the charter, is unconstitutional.
2-' T h a t if Congress do possess this power, and that it would be a constitutional act
t o exercise it, it is inexpedient, impolitic, and unnecessary to exercise it. S o that the
o b j e c t i o n to this feature in the bill is the want of authority to adopt it, and the inexp e d i e n c y of doing so, even if that authority existed.
I m e e t this objection, in the double aspect in which it has been presented, by exp r e s s i n g my entire conviction that the power whicli is denied does exist; and that,
s o far as existing facts appear, and present circumstances are developed, it is exped i e n t that this power be asserted and exercised.
1. H a s Congress been invested, by the Constitution, with power to establish a
S a n k of the United States, with branches, to be located, by their authority, in the
s e v e r a l States, independent of, and without the assent of the States? T h e very statem e n t of this question is calculated to startle some, at least, of (hose w h o are familiar
w i t h the legislative and judicial history of the United States, from nearly the com- *
m e n c e m e n t of the organization of this Government. Most of those w h o h a v e been
t a u g h t to consider ihe opinions of the wise and patriotic men who have advocated
t h i s power, as existing in the Constitution, as entitled to respect—of those w h o h a v e
paid similar respect to legislative acts and declarations often repeated and acquiesced in—
o f those who have cherished the doctrine tha' the adjudications of the highest judicial
tribunal of the country on contested questions of constitutional law directly brought
1>etore them, and necessarily decided, as putting such questions, ever after, at rest—
hear with surprise, at this period of our history, the renewal of a discussion on this now
settled point of constitutional law, I do not intend to favor its renewal by any argum e n t in support ot the power claimed, derived irorn considerations which have led to
i t s exercise fur half a century. I should consider it a work of supererogation to recapitulate the arguments by which it was originally sustained, and by which it has since
b e e n enforced. 1 coulcl add nothing to what has been better said by abler men than
myself. N o reasoning of mine could t licit any thing new on a subject which has
b e e n exhausted by the genius and learning of the great men who have preceded us,
PJor shall I reft r to the recorded opinions of enlightened statesmen, profound jurists,
and distinguished constitutional lawyers—to the acts of successive Presidents of the
U n i t d States—successive acts of Congress—the general and very audible expression
,of popular sentiment. They form a part of the hi-tory ot* the country, and are familiar
t o us all. Waiving all these concurring circumstances which furnish overwhelming
evidence in favor of the power of Congress to establish tiiese offices of discount
and deposit—waiving also every argument supportirg this power, which may be
derived from the obj cts designed to be attained by the formation and adoption oJ the
Constitution—waiving, too, the additional support which the advocates of the power
find in the words of that instrument, as well as in their obvious spirit, when applied
to rbU subject—I call the attention of the Senate to a single consideration connected
w i t h the point I an; now considering, which seems to me to be decisive, and which, I
think, no ingenuity can remove, no reasoning answer, no power of intellect overthrow*
A n d that is, the solemn, repeated, direct decisions of the Supreme Court aftiiining
this power. Mr, President, I approach thi* part of the subject with feelings of (he
deepest sensibility. I have, from an early period of my life, been taught the propriety,
a s well as duty, of yielding obedience to the laws, Tint] of the laws as expounded
by that tribunal which has been created to explain and declare their meaning,
I have been taught to reverence the opinions of those who have been constitutionally
appointed to declare to me, and to all the people of these United States, the true
turaning and interpretation of the Constitution and laws under which we live, and by
-which we are governed. T h e school in which I have been instructed, is that in
w h i c h has been taught ihesafr, the just, the invuluahle doctrine that the adjudications,
o f thn court of la t report, are to be considered as declaratory of the law, and the rights
and duties giowin^ out of ir» until regularly set aside in a form recognized by the




6
C o n s t i t u t i o n . I h a v e g r o w n up under those instructions. T h e i r v a l u e a n d importance have
i n c r e a s e d , in my estimation, during every year of my life, and w h a t w a s the conviction
*>f m y j u d g m e n t in m y y o u t h , has become confirmed in my riper y e a r s .
And
n o w , sir, w i t h those early lessons of inestimable value imprinted on my m i n d , I come
t o the application of t h e m to the case before u s . A n d , in view of t h e m , I say that
«af a n y m a t t e r of once disputed constitutional l a w ; can be considered as settled—as
3*0 longer open—as closed to all doubt and disputation, it is that of the p o w e r of Cong r e s s to establish a B a n k of the United S t a t e s , with offices of discount a n d deposit
i n t h e several S t a t e s , by force of their o w n authority. T h e S u p r e m e Court of the
TJaited S t a t e s have, more than once, had this m a t t e r presented to t h e m for considerat i o n a n d decision. T h e point has not been before t h e m , incidentally only. *The
^opinions w h i c h they have expressed, have not been extra-judicial. T h e y have been
ire^uired to consider the question as involved in the cases before them. It has been
n e c e s s a r y to decide it, that justice between the parties litigant before t h e m , might
b e faithfully and impartially administered. Nor has the question been merely, whether
a. S a n k of the United S t a t e s could be created by C o n g r e s s ; but the very question,
w h e t h e r branches could be established in the respective S t a t e s , without the assent
*>f t h e S t a t e s , has been the basis of their adjudications. T h i s point has been elaborately a r g u e d ; time has been taken for deliberation; every view which could be pres e n t e d , having a bearing upon it, h a s been considered. T h e giant intellect, the learni n g , t h e talents of the great, distinguished and patriotic m e n , w h o composed the S u p r e m e Court, have been put in requisition; and that court have come to a result.
T h e y h a v e declared w h a t is the true interpretation of the Constitution as relates to
t h e present subject. U n d e r all the sanctions of a judicial oath, of the high responsibility of their station, of the great importance of the subject, they have pronounced
t h e i r decisions. T h e y have affirmed the existence of the once disputed p o w e r ; and
t h i s , n-ot by a divided opinion of the court—not by any qualified expressions indic a t i n g possible doubt and uncertainty on the point—but unanimously, explicitly, and
SLrmly ; and not once only, but repeatedly ; forming a series of precedents and deci-sions, w h i c h cannot be shaken by any subsequent opposing decisions, w i t h o u t doing
v i o l e n c e to the Constitution, and pulling down one of the main pillars on w h i c h the
^security of the rights of persons and propertv depends. N o question of power under
t h e Constitution, w h i c h has been doubted, and which has been the subject of judicial
i n v e s t i g a t i o n , has been more fully, entirely, and irrevocably settled, by judicial author i t y , than the power to establish these offices of discount arid deposit. In my opinion,
it is not n o w an open question. If the decisions of a tribunal created, a m o n g other
purposes, for the very purpose of settling these disputed questions—decisions often rep e a t e d , uniform, deliberate, called for and necessarily expressed—if such decisions
axe not to be considered as having the force of law T if they have not put an end to
att *ioubt and disputation, no question of constitutional law can be considered as
s c r i e d . W e arc still afloat upon the broad ocean of uncertainty, and every functionaryTinder t h e G o v e r n m e n t is to be allowed to interpret the Constitution for himself,
a n d to govern himself, in all his acts, by such interpretation, and to be protected
i n t h e m . Mr. President, the decisions of the S u p r e m e Court, on this point, are n o w
t o be considered as a part of the Constitution, as much so as if the doctrines contained^
ifi t h e m , were expressed in words in the instrument. T h e interpretation of w h a t ia
w r i t t e n , is given to us by authority w h i c h is paramount and binding. T h a t authority to
w h i c h w e have agreed to yield our obedience, has declared that the Constitution
•^iTf.s the p o w t r to Congress "to establish these offices of discount and deposit* It
is n o w a part of that sacred instrument, and, for myself, I should feel under the s a m e
obligation to consider it as a portion of the Constitution, as if it way expressly asserted
i n so m a n y words. A refu-al to treat these interpretations as binding, it s e e m s to m e ,
wuld
be at war with thu whole genius and spirit of our institutions, and give unli,*£e££ed toleration to every exposition of the Constitution w h i c h m i g h t be honestly
w a d e r by every citizen of this widely extended Union. N o question open to a n y
skniVt would ever he closed.
E v e r y person would be at liberty to interpret the C o n s o l u t i o n for himself, and shield himself from the consequences which would or m i g h t
foliow from such interpretation, under the plea that he w a s conscientious in the v i e w s
&e e n t e r t a i n e d . If these opinions are to prevail, it would s e e m to be of little imporSEM&*.e w h a t are the adjudications of the S u p r e m e C o u r t , upon any m a t t e r of constiJtafcitfiial law.
B u t the most serious consequences w h i c h would result from permitting t h e s e
' ^ j u d i c a t i o n s to be disregarded, and allowing t h e m a t t e r s decided to be still o p e n to



7
d i s c u s s i o n , h a v e not b e e n m e n t i o n e d , I proceed to n o t i c e t h e m . U n d e r t h e d e c i s i o n s
-1& w h i c h I h a v e referred, ( a n d t h e y are to be found in the records of t h e court in t h i s
C a p i t o l , and reported under our a u t h o r i t y — I m e a n t h e c a s e s in the S u p r e m e C o u r t
g r o w i n g out of the a t t e m p t by t h e L e g i s l a t u r e s of M a r y l a n d and Ohio to i m p o s e a t a x
u p o n t h e B a n k , t h r o u g h its b r a n c h e s , ) r i g h t s of property to a large a m o u n t h a v e been,
d e c l a r e d a n d confirmed. I n d e e d , most, or certainly very m a n y of the titles to p r o p e r t y
i n t h i s c o u n t r y , m a y be said to d e p e n d , directly or indirectly, upon the a d j u d i c a t i o n s
o f c o u r t s , d e c l a r i n g the true and legal construction to be g i v e n to legislative acts, a n d
t o p r i v a t e c o n t r a c t s . U p o n the implicit faith reposed in t h e s e decisions, a n d t h e m o r a l
c e r t a i n t y w h i c h is felt that they will not be d i s t u r b e d — n e i t h e r doubted nor overruled—
i n v e s t m e n t s of capital to a large a m o u n t h a v e b e e n m a d e , a n d a conscious security is ind u l g e d in their stability a n d safety. T a k e a w a y t h e shield w h i c h public virtue and the
p r i n c i p l e s of i m m u t a b l e j u s t i c e h a v e t h r o w n a r o u n d the sanctity of tb#se titles a n d inv e s t m e n t s , by the entire confidence placed in t h e stability of the a d j u d i c a t i o n s on w h i c h
t h e y d e p e n d , a n d little is left of security for a n y r i g h t s of person or property. S u c h is
t h e principle on w h i c h t h e vast a m o u n t of property acquired u n d e r the decisions of the
S u p r e m e C o u r t , declaring t h e act incorporating the B a n k of the U n i t e d S t a t e s to be a
^ c o n s t i t u t i o n a l act, rests for its support. T r a n s f e r s of stock w e r e m a d e , real and pers o n a l e s t a t e to an a m o u n t w h i c h can hardly be c o m p u t e d , w a s p u r c h a s e d u p o n r the faith
o f t h e s e decisions. T h e titles to m a n y houses, farms and plantations rest w ith confid e n c e in t h e inviolability of judicial decisions. T h e i n c o m e of m a n y a w i d o w a n d
o r p h a n , derived from this u n s h a k e n confidence, t h e w e a l t h of m a n y of our c i t i z e n s , t h e
r e v e n u e s of m a n y persons retired from active b u s i n e s s , and s o m e e v e n of the property
o f t h e n a t i o n , d e p e n d upon the stability of the decisions of this h i g h tribunal—the
S u p r e m e C o u r t of the United S t a t e s . A n d is it at this dayman open question, w h e t h e r
t h e s e decisions are to be m a i n t a i n e d ? A r e t h e s e rights to be m a d e to d e p e n d u p o n
t h e opinions of j u d g e s w h o m a y hereafter occupy places in that c o u r t ?
Are the
e n r o l l e d j u d g m e n t s and decrees w h i c h h a v e their foundation in t h e s e decisions, to be
o p e n e d , a n d the point a g a i n to be a g i t a t e d , discussed a n d decided, w h e t h e r the c h a r t e r
o f t h e B a n k of the U n i t e d S t a t e s , w h i c h lies at the foundation of t h e m , wa^ a c h a r t e r
g r a n t e d by c o m p e t e n t authority ? Surely, this will not b e seriously c o n t e n d e d by a n y
o n e ; a n d yet it is difficult to perceive w h y these decisions should be conclusive upon
a i l the Tights of property, and to be respected a n d upheld, a n d yet t h e only principle
- w h i c h s u s t a i n s t h e m — t h a t w h i c h affirms t h e constitutionality of t h e B a n k a n d its
" b r a n c h e s — i s to be regarded as open and u n d e c i d e d . C a n it be an open q u e s t i o n
• w h e t h e r the p o w e r exerted in the creation of former B a n k s , w a s a constitutional p o w e r ,
w h e n it is admitted that it is only iu c o n s e q u e n c e of the e x i s t e n c e and e x e r c i s e of t h a t
p o w e r , t h a t t h e rights acquired by the a d j u d i c a t i o n s m a d e in p u r s u a n c e of it, can be
m a i n t a i n e d ? H a v i n g , then, the repeated decisions of the highest judicial tribunal of the
n a t i o n , one of w h o s e appropriate functions it is, to p u t a n end to all doubts upon the
q u e s t i o n of power, a s s e r t i n g a n d upholding it, w e are bound, I think, to consider their
d e c i s i o n s as declaratory of the true m e a n i n g of the C o n s t i t u t i o n — a s incorporated in
a n d rnade part of t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n itself—and in all cases to w h i c h they are properly
a p p l i c a b l e , to be t h e s u p r e m e l a w of the land.
I m i g h t stop h e r e , in reference to this subject, a n d , I think, confidently afiirtn, that
i n v i e w of these solemn adjudications, and these alone, the question of the constitut i o n a l i t y of a B a n k w i t h branches, is no longer open to debate. I propose, h o w e v e r ,
t o m a k e a few other s u g g e s t i o n s c o n n e c t e d with this point, and also in c o n n e x i o n w i t h
t h e rest of the a m e n d m e n t now u n d e r the consideration of the S e n a t e ,
I f the p o w e r to establish a branch in a S t a t e w i t h o u t its consent, is not ^ i v e n to
C o n g r e s s by the Constitution, h o w can it bo conferred by the action of the S t a t e s separ a t e l y ? D o e s it m a k e the location of a branch a n y more lawful because the S t a t e
c o n s e n t s to its e s t a b l i s h m e n t ? H o w can a S t a t e confer a p o w e r on C o n g r e s s to do
a n act w h i c h th« Constitution prohibits it from d o i n g ? T h e p o w e r s of C o n g r e s s g r o w
o u t of a n d depend upon the C o n s t i t u t i o n . T h e y exist b e c a u s e they arc g r a n t e d by
t h a t i n s t r u m e n t , and for that reason alone. N o w , if a particular p o w e r is w i t h h e l d ,
c a n it be conferred by the action of a single State—or by the c o n c u r r e n t action of all
t h e S t a t e s , except in the for*n provided for in the i n s t r u m e n t , viz : by an a m e n d m e n t
to i t ? U certainly would be a novel m o d e of o b t a i n i n g power, by a t t e m p t i n g to e x e r c i s e
i t in the first i n s t a n c e , contrary to the C o n s t i t u t i o n , u p o n the c o n t i n g e n c y t h a t o n e or
m o r e of the S t a t e s assented to it ! If Congress: h a v e the p o w e r to establish a B a n k w i t h
b r a n c h e s , as being in its j u d g m e n t fit a n d proper and necessary to the d u e a n d s u c c e s s f u l e x e c u t i o n of its other p o w e r s , that p o w e r m u s t exist i n d e p e n d e n t of and w i t h o u t




8
reference to the authority of the S t a t e s ; arid if it does not possess such power, if it-i&<
not conferred by the charter w h i c h creates, defines, and limits its authority, h o w can
the States, except in one w a y — b y an amendment to the Constitution—confer i t ? A.
striking illustration of the foregoing v i e w of this subject would be found in the foll o w i n g cases. T h e Constitution prohibits Congress from passing any bill of attainder
or expost facto law ; from laying any capitation or other direct tax, unless in proportion to the c e n s u s ; from laying an export duty ; from giving preference by any
regulation of commerce or revenue, to the ports of one State over hose of another.Could the,power to do any of these acts be conferred on Congress, by the mere assent
of the S t a t e s ? And would l a w s to effect any of these objects be constitutional, if
provision w a s made that the assent of the State should be first given ? A nd if it were
g i v e n , would the exercise of the power be then, and for that reason, lawful?
Suppose Cc^pgress were inhibited from making any thing but gold and silver coin a
tender in payment of debts due to the United States, would the assent of a State to
an act of Congress making bank notes a legal tender give legal efficacy to such an
e n a c t m e n t ? W o u l d it be a constitutional l a w ? Is that clause in the Constitution
w h i c h provides that all laws of the United S t a t e s w h i c h are made in pursuance of it*,
shall be the supreme law of the land, binding the j u d g e s , in every S t a t e , to be so construed as fhat such laws are either to depend, for their obligatory force, upon their concurrence with the constitution or l a w s of a State, or are to acquire their binding efficacy
bv reason of an express or implied assent, to be given to them, subsequently, by a
S t a t e ? A n d y^t the essential feature of the present amendment is designed to obviate
a constitutional difficulty growing out of the w a n t of power to create a branch in a State,
by requiring its assent, and thus conferring a power by such assent, w h i c h , without it,h a s no existence. It s e e m s to me that if there be any such constitutional impediment^
it is not removed by the action of the S t a t e s in the way contemplated.
It is also well worthy of consideration, whether the constitutional right to create a
B a n k at all, w h i c h is to operate out of the limits of the District of Columbia, as thia
is certainly intended to do, and as it must do, or else it nas neither the form, nor the
shape, nor the substance of a National Bank, does not necessarily imply a power to
create branches in the several States, if Congress deem them necessary and proper
to carry into effect powers expressly granted. W h o is to judge of this propriety and
n e c e s s i t y ? Certainly not the Slates.
If Congress may judge in these particulars,,
does not the admission, that it may create a Bank for national purposes, necessarily
admit the power of establishing branches?
Did the framers of the Constitution
intend that Congress might make a Bank, as being necessary to the proper m a n a g e m e n t of the revenues, by way of collection and disbursement, and yet not to be at
liberty to place it where it supposed these ends couid be best accomplished? M i g h t
it make a Bank, and yet have no power to locate it, or branches of it, except in this
District, the Territories, the dock-yards, the forts, or the arsenals of the n a t i o n ?
T h e question may, then* w i t h propriety, be repeated, if the power to incorporate a
Bank, for the purposes mentioned, be admitted, does it not follow, as a necessary
consequence, that the power to place it where it will produce the desired results, i s
also admitted? And bow can one of these powers exist without the other? A n d
is not the argument whidh asserts that the power io locate a branch in any S t a t e ,
derived from the fact, that the incorporation of a Bank of the United States is
constitutional, a sound argument?
It may be added, further, on this point of constitutional power, that the residue o f
the amendment provides for acts io be done for, and through the instrumentality of, the
Bank, which would s e e m to imply the existence of the power which is denied—of*
establishing offices of discount and deposit. T h e Bunk is authorized to employ any
agent or agents, or Bank or Banks, to be approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, at
anyplace
or* places the directors may deem safe and proper, to m a n a g e and transact
the business proposed as aforesaid, other than for the purposes of discount* & c . & c .
etc. N o w it is said that these agencies can perform all the appropriate functions o f
a Bank, except that of discounting prom Usury notes. T h e y can deal or trade in
bills of exchange, gold or silver coin, or bullion,* or goods or lands purchased on e x e cution, or taken bona fide in payment of debts or goods which shall be the proceeds
of its lands—they can receive m o n e y s on deposit—thry can pay out the notes of the
corporation. W h e t h e r , under this provision, tht-y can "discount bills of e x c h a n g e , or
buy (not discount) promissory notes, 1 will not inquire. Nor will I stop n o w tc*
inquire whether it i^ probable, if the amendment should prevail, the stock would b e
subscribed for. It is sufficient, for my present purpose, to consider the power of these-




9
a g e n c i e s to b e c o m m e n s u r a t e ( a s it is alleged it i s ) w u h all t h e w a n t s of t h e T r e a s u r y , ,
for fiscal p u r p o s e s , a n d a s sufficient to regulate t h e e x c h a n g e s , s e c u r e a sound curr e n c y , and p r o m o t e t h e g e n e r a l welfare of t h e c o u n t r y , If this be so, if t h e s e a g e n c i e s w i l l t h u s confer t h e benefits to be derived from a N a t i o n a l B a n k — i f t h e y are,i n e f f e c t , offices of deposit and of b u s i n e s s , u n i t i n g all t h e ordinary p o w e r s of a B a n k ,
e^ccept that ofdiscounting^
and if it be lawful ( c o n s t i t u t i o n a l ) to c r e a t e s u c h a g e n c i e s ,
w h y / m a y t h e r e not be added t h e p o w e r also to d i s c o u n t , if C o n g r e s s d e e m t h a t a
p r o p e r p o w e r to be conferred on the B a n k ? C a n it be seriously c o n t e n d e d t h a t ,
u n d e r t h e n a m e of a n a g e n c y , C o n g r e s s can constitutionally m a k e a B a n k , h a v i n g all
t h e e s s e n t i a l p o w e r s ot" a B a n k except one, a n d y e t c a n not a d d t h a t p o w e r a l s o ?
T b e y m a y m a k e a constitutional B a n k , it is said, for every p u r p o s e , e x c e p t t h a t of
d i s c o u n t i n g ; a n d , a s to that, they are prohibited. T h e y c a n establish a n a g e n c y i n
e v e r y S t a t e , w i t h o u t its a s s e n t , to deal in all t h i n g s c o n n e c t e d w i t h b a n k i n g p u r p o s e s , — > u c h a s bullion, gold and silver, its o w n n o t e s , d e p o s i t s , bills of e x c h a n g e , & c .
& c 5 a n d y e t c a n n o t a u t h o r i z e the B a n k to discount a n o t e , u n l e s s t h e S t a t e c o n s e n t s
to it.
I s t h e r e a n y t h i n g in the discounting
of p a p e r w h i c h r e n d e r s t h e a u t h o r i t y
of
C o n g r e s s over it u n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l ?
C a n they e m p o w e r t h e B a n k to d e a l i n
b i l l s o f e x c h a n g e , and not in promissory n o t e s ? W h e r e is t h i s distinbtion to be
found
i n t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n ? Or h o w can it exist in r e f e r e n c e to t h e s u b j e c t to w h i c h
i t i s a p p l i e d ? If the p o w e r of C o n g r e s s to establish a g e n c i e s a s b e i n g n e c e s s a r y a n d
p r o p e r t o t h e e x e c u t i o n of its other p o w e r s , e x i s t s , t h e s a m e p o w e r , for t h e s a m e
p u r p o s e s , m u s t e x t e n d to the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of offices of d i s c o u n t . I t s e e m s to m e
i m p o s s i b l e to s e p a r a t e t h e m , a n d that the a d m i s s i o n t h a t t h e one is conferred, i s
a l s o a n a d m i s s i o n t h a t the o t h e r is likewise conferred.
1 d o n o t d e e m it n e c e s s a r y to add any t h i n g further on this q u e s t i o n , of t h e p o w e r
o f C o n g r e s s to c r e a t e a B a n k , w i t h offices of d i s c o u n t a n d deposit, for I t h i n k it is
i m p l i e d l y a d m i t t e d by the a d v o c a t e s of tba< part of t h e a m e n d m e n t w h i c h r e l a t e s to
a g e n c i e s , ,and by those w h o suppose t h a t a B a t i k w h o s e o p e r a t i o n s a r e n o t confined to
t h e D i s t r i c t of C o l u m b i a can be created, n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g the proposition to r e q u i r e
t h e a s s e n t of t h e L e g i s l a t u r e of a S t a l e , is a practical d e n i a l of t h e p o w e r . I t h i n k ,
a l s o , t h a t t h e d e c i s i o n s of the S u p r e m e C o u r t h a v e put t h e p o i n t a t rest, a n d t h a t
i t o u g h t n o t to be disturbed- In addition to this, the m a i n s t r e s s of the a r g u m e n t
i n "favor of the a m e n d m e n t h a s been placed upon the g r o u n d of earpediency,
n o t of
u n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i t y ; and I propose n o w to e x a m i n e that b r a n c h of t o e a r g u m e n t , a n d
t o e n d e a v o r to s h o w that it h a s no stronger foundation on w h i c h to rest, than t h a t of
t h e l o n g - e x p l o d e d a n d buried doctrine of t h e u n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i t y of a B a n k of t h e
U n i t e d States,
2 . I s it e x p e d i e n t for t h e S e n a t e n o w , u n d e r e x i u i n g c i r c u m s t a n c e s in t h i s s t a g e
o f t h e i r p r o c e e d i n g s , to insert a clause t h a t the L e g i s l a t u r e of a S t a t e shall a s s e n t to
t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a n office of d i s c o u n t a n d d e p o - i t w i t h i n its territorial l i m i t s ?
I n m y j u d g m e n t , it is e x p e d i e n t n o w , not only to assert, but to e x e r c i s e the p o w e r
t o e s t a b l i s h such offices, w i t h o u t requiring ihe proposed a s s e n t . I propose to g i v e
t h e r e a s o n s for t h i s opinion, after fir^t c o n s i d e r i n g the g r o u n d s of e x p e d i e n c y w b i c h
h a v e b e e n u r g e d in favor ot restricting the p o w e r to the a s s e n t of t h e S l a t e s ,
A n d it is s u p p o s e d , that by yielding this disputed point, w e shall sooner h a v e a
B a n k i n c o r p o r a t e d . T h a t it may be, that w i h o u t the adoption of this a m e n d m e n t *
t h e bill will not m e e t the approbation of the other b r a n c h of t h e L e g i s l a t i v e d e p a r t m e n t ot t h e G o v e r n m e n t , or possibly may not find favor in a n o t h e r quarter, and t h a t
t h e c o u n t r y requires, d e m a n d s , a B a n k — t h a t it has spoken on this sunject in u n e q u i v o c a l l a n g u a g e , w h i c h c a n n o t be m i s t a k e n — t h a t it e x p e c t s o n e s p e e d i l y — a n d
t h a t n o u n e s s e n t i a l provision should be insisted on w b i c h m a y i m p e d e or p r e v e n t
i t s i m m e d i a t e creation.
A n d w h o , M r . P r e s i d e n t , s p e a k s with authority on t h i s s u b j e c t ? O r w h o , if h e
c o u l d , o u g h t to t^peak w i t h such authority ? W h o k n o w s w h a t a r e t h e v i e w s a n d
o p i n i o n s of the other branch of C o n g r e s s , or of the E x e c u t i v e 7 H o w do w e k n o w
tv~hat will, a n d w h a t will not, be favorably receivt d e l s e w h e r e ? W h o is e m p o w e r e d
t o r i s e in his place, in this c h a m b e r , and urge (he adoption of this a m e n d m e n t , o n
t h e g ^ o u n d t h a t it* w e do not a c c e p t of this, w e shall certainly loose all ? N o s u c h a u t h o r i t y is c l a i m e d , n o n e s u c h h a s b e e n stated. O n the c o n t r a r y , it h a s b e e n e x p r e s s l y
disclaimed.
B u t , sir, w h a t h a v e w e to do w i t h the o p i n i o n s of others—of t h o s e 'who c o m p o s e a
b r a n c h of the L e g i s l a t i v e d e p a r t m e n t , sitting at t h e other end of this building, or of
t h e h i g h functionary w h o may be required to e x a m i n e and act u p o n t h i s g r e a t m e a ,




10
s u r e ? ' W h o are w e , and w h a t are our d u t i e s ? W e are the A m e r i c a n S e n a t e ff>
independent branch of the Congress of the United States- W e are sent h e r e to d » r
suit together, and to act for the honor and interests of our c o m m o n country^ to
m a i n t a i n her rights, to promote her welfare. In the measures w e may be called to
consider, w e are to bring to our aid our patriotism, our knowledge, our e x p e r i e n c e
W e are to obtain all such information as may lead to correct and useful results.—
W e are to perform our constitutional duties, under all the responsibilities w h i c h rest
upon us, and under a deep s e n s e of the importance of those duties. W e are t o afck
no counsel of our fears. In forming our opinions, or casting our votes, w e are n o t to
inquire in advance w h a t are the v i e w s ot others w h o may be called to express th^ir
opinions. W e have nothing to do w i t h the remote consequences of our acts, when*
satisfied that duty- requires their performance. W e are to ascertain w h a t duty dem a n d s , and fearlessly and resolutely to discharge it. H a v i n g once entered u p o n that
path, Ave should walk in it, without turning either to the right hand or to t h e left*
and then, c o m e w h a t m a y , w e need not fear the upbraidings of c o n s c i e n c e , nor t h e denunciations of the virtuous. T o others must be left their share of responsibility*—
W h e n they are called to act, they must, and doubtless will, act under the same
w e i g h t of the importance of their duties, as rests upon us. W e are not to g o either
to a legislative hall, or an E x e c u t i v e mansion, to learn what will be acceptable there.
T h e time has not yet c o m e w h e n the S e n a t e of the United States will be called upoa
to b o w to any such implied dictation. N o , sir, no. W e have not b e e n asked, afid
shall not be, to conform our opinions to the v i e w s of those w h o m a y hereafter be
called to act on the subject, under equal responsibilities with ourselves. W e do aot
e v e n k n o w w h a t their opinions are. I shall vote uninfluenced bv any supposed embarrassments w h i c h m a y possibly arise elsewhere, and the spirit of independence
w h i c h has characterized the ancient, honorable, intelligent, and patriotic Commonwealth w h i c h has g i v e n m e this seat of honor and trust, shall neither be lost nor impaired in m y person* B u t 1 leave this unpleasant topic. It has no relevancy to the
point I am considering. It has not been alluded to by any one w i t h any unkind feeling, or from any but the purest motives. L e t us forget that it has been m e n t i o n e d ,
I proceed n o w to consider the only ground of expediency on w h i c h the adoption of
this a m e n d m e n t has been placed—and it has been presented w i t h all the force of Argument, and power of eloquence, w h i c h belong to the distinguished g e n t l e m e n who
have urged i t / W e have been reminded that all things w h i c h are lawful are not
c o n v e n i e n t ; that mere assertions of power are oftentimes d a n g e r o u s ; and that concessions and compromises, without sacrifices of principle, often produce the most
happy results ; that it is not to be concealed that there are many honest and patriotic
citizens w h o doubt certainly, if they do not deny, the constitutional p o w e r o f Congress to locate offices of discount in the S t a t e s without their a s s e n t ; that the adoption of the amendment, while it denies no power heretofore claimed, merely withholds the exercise of i t ; and that, in this w a y , all constitutional scruples will brf re*
rhoved, all preconceived opinions remain undisturbed, all sectional j e a l o u s i e s allayed,
all S t a t e pride untouched, all apprehensions of danger removed. It w o u l d obviate
the scruples of eminent friends, and give to the country a Bank, w h i c h w o u l d disarm m u c h of the hostility n o w prevailing against such an institution, and enableft
t o lead a more quiet, peaceful life than if exposed to the effects resulting from t h e jealousies and scruples of State sovereignties. I intend to meet this argument for conciliation acid compromise in the t a m e frank and generous spirit in w h i c h it h a s been
offered to us. It is a fair argument, which deserves and shall receive all the consideration to w h i c h its merits entitle it. And I take the occasion to say, it is the only arg u m e n t w h i c h has been urged by m o - t of those w h o have spoken in favor o f the
amendment—the ground of the unconstitutionality of the act not having been urged,
but repudiated by most of them.
M y first a n s w e r to this proposition of compromise is, that it is impossible for m e to"
perceive h o w it can satisfy the scruples of those w h o deny the power of C o n g r e s s &
create office^ of discount and deposit against the w i s h e s of the S t a t e s . Tt is true, bf
the a m e n d m e n t , their assent is required to the establishment of s u c h offices, bul fV
is not required to the creation of agencies in the respective S t a t e s , clothed wftk
every banking power, except that of discounting notes. I have adverted to this top&
in a previous part of the discussion* for a different purpose, I revert to it again, •*
pertinent to the present inquiry, for it is very difficult for m e to s e e h o w the object <**
the amendment can he attained—that of removing out of the w a y constitutional sell**
p i e s — w h i l e the other parts of the a m e n d m e n t are retained. Is it so that the power* 0




11
MHM4!MSfit u o t e s in a S t a t e cannot be conferred, by an act of C o n g r e s s , in the form
S4»T tt - B a n k charter, and yet a power be granted to exercise every other banking
M P t i r i l e g e 1 C a n those w h o suppose an office of discount and deposite cannot b e estabdumlred, e v e n although deemed necessary by C o n g r e s s to aid the legitimate operations
^bZ t h e T r e a s u r y , s h o w that an office of deposit—to receive and pay out m o n e y s —
- d e a l i o g o l d and silver, and in exchanges, can be constitutionally created to act w i t h iti t h e l i m i t s a n d operate upon the interests of the S t a t e s ? How can these t w o
jK»We*rsf w h e n considered proper and necessary by Congress to be exercised, be disu n i t e d , a n d the one be deemed lawful, and the other unconstitutional ? W h a t evid e n c e h a v e w e that the section, as modified by this a m e n d m e n t , will be acceptable to
all? w h o are j e a l o u s of State rights, fearful of dangers from locating- branches in the
S t a t e s , a n d desirous of placing them u n d e r s t a t e authority? Until w e h a v e such evid e n c e * w h y should w e be asked to give up our convictions of ri^ht and expediency as
jet p e a c e - o f l e r i n g - , as due to the spirit of conciliation and compromise ? VV'hy should
w e , m A D V A N C E , yield a point which w e consider important, until w e are satisfied,
t h a t \>y y i e l d i n g it, w e shall put an end to all jealousies, heart-burnings, and foreb o d i n g s o f e v i l ? If these agencies proposed to be established, are not irrespective
Of, a n d irresponsible to. State authority, (hey can be taxed, and otherwise dealt w i t h ,
a s t h e l a w f u l power of the State may direct ; and, then, no one would subscribe to
<the s t o c k — p r o b a b l y not a share of it would be taken. But, if they are uncontrollable
-fey S t a t e l a w s — ( a s they certainly are)—if, in consequence of their creation by an act
Of C o n g r e s s , they depend upon that act for their existence and power, w h y , then,
t h e y a r e a B a n k of discount and deposit in another form; and while the assent of the
S r a t e s i s required to an office of discount, it is not asked nor required for the locat i o n o f a g e n c i e s w h i c h are to produce nearly the same results. I leave it to those
w h o t h i n k , that in reference to the question of constitutional power, there is a subs t a n t i a l difference b e t w e e n the two forms of effecting the s a m e object, to point it
o u t ; a n d I especially commend to those w h o suppose the one mode to be constitutional ,
a n d t h e other not, the inquiry whether a majority of those w h o are jealous ofthe e x ' e x c i s e o f federal power, will consider this a m e n d m e n t a s possessing either the form,
«or *th« s u b s t a n c e of a compromise a c t ?
B u t another a n s w e r may be ^iven to the argument of expediency w h i c h has been
t i r g e d on this occasion. A n d that is, that in my opinion, the number of those w h o
- d e n y t h e p o w e r of Congress to establish the offices of discount, is very limited, and,
^therefore, there are but few w h o will ask for the adoption of this proposition of c o m p r o m i s e . I necessarily speak from my o w n v i e w o f t h e extent o f t h e opposition to
t h e e x i s t e n c e of this p o w e r ; but I believe since the repeated acts of legislation—the
d e c i d e d opinions of many of the distinguished statesmen of the country, s o m e of
w h o m are dead, and some still living—the repeated recognitions by C o n g r e s s , and
t h e s o l e m n decisions of the Supreme Court, public opinion has very much settled
d o w n , in the conviction that the power is no longer to be denied. W h a t e v e r opin i o n s m a y have been entertained on the abstract question, the general s e n s e of the
n a t i o n h a s been expressed in favor of not disturbing it, and against treating* it as a
m a t t e r doubtful, and open to disputaiion. I am aware that this is not the universal
s e n t i m e n t . I k n o w that many excellent citizens, m a n y distinguished public men,
m a n y o f the most honorable and patriotic of our people, consider this matter open
a n d u n s e t t l e d , and yet retain all their former opinions. Still, however, I believe the
n u m b e r not to be large, and with the exception of such, w h o s e feelings and opinions
a r e a l w a y s to be regarded with kindness and respect, and some others w h o a l w a y s
e n d e a v o r to make political capital out of almost every subject of puhlic concern, that
t h e g r e a t body of the American people have come to the conclusion, that the power
c l a i m e d and asserted in the bill as reported by the committee, exists and may be en
forcedOpposed as they mny have been originally to its assertion, they have yielded
to t h e c o m b i n e d influence of the opinions, legislation, and judicial decisions to w h i c h
I h a v e referred. Maryland and Ohio resisted it in every constitutional form.
These
{ S t a t e s d e n i e d the power—asserted their o w n authority—and were heard, by the c o m xxxoti arbiter provided by the Constitution, on the question of right.
T h e decision
was
a g a i n s t them, and they submitted to it, and since that period, it has been acq u i e s c e d in by the Legislatures a n c ' people of the States generally as a point w h i c h
w a s s e t t l e d by that tribunal which all the States and the people had created to settle
» u c h matters of doubt and disputation. If notsatisfied with the reasons for the decis i o n , nor w i t h the correctness of the decision itself, they have yielded to it, as b e i n g
o f p a r a m o u n t authority, w h i c h other j u d g e s sitting in the places of those w h o pro-




12
n o u n c e d it could not properly disregard nor overrule* I f s u c h b e public sentimei^Jr
very little, if a n y , fear e x i s t s that there will be m u c h d a n g e r from S t a t e j e a l o u s y , .«3flf
S t a l e pride, or S t a t e i n t e r e s t s , if the a m e n d m e n t should be r e j e c t e d . T h e r e i s b**t
little of this f e e l i n g to be allayed* A n d surely, in s u c h a ca^e, there w o u l d s e e m tt^
be no n e c e s s i t y for i n d u l g i n g w h a t h a s been d e n o m i n a t e d the spirit o f c o n c i l i a t i o n
and c o m p r o m i s e , ar the e x p e n s e of our decided c o n v i c t i o n s o f w h a t w i l P b e b e s t for
t h e interests of the country, viz.: g i v i n g p o w e r to the B a n k to establish offices o f d i s c o u n t and deposit in the w a y e x p e r i e n c e h a s proved to be highly salutary a n d beneficial*
B u t there is another v i e w to be taken o f this proposition of c o m p r o m i s e , qui&f
d e c i s i v e , I think, under e x i s t i n g c i r c u m s t a n c e s , a g a i n s t the adoption o f it. T h e ve^f
opposite effect will be produced, from w h a t is desired, or w h a t is s u p p o s e d w i l l f o l l o w
by t h o s e w h o a d v o c a t e the a m e n d m e n t .
A t present, there is m u c h q u i e t n e s s i n t h e
public m i n d upon this question of power. A s I h a v e said before, the P e o p l e gene*:
rally h a v e not w i s h e d to disturb a matter w h i c h has so l o n g b e e n at rest.
Although*
m a n y m a y deprecate the creation o f a B a n k of the U n i t e d S t a t e s , the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l
right to establish it, is m u c h l e s s denied than formerly. I sincerely b e l i e v e , t h a t
a m o n g all the disputed points of constitutional l a w w h i c h h a v e b e e n r a i s e d &nd
d e c i d e d in this country w i t h i n the last fifty y e a r s , there is no o n e w h i c h , by t h e P e o p l e
at large, is considered to be more definitively settled than the constitutional a u t h o r i t y
to establish a B a n k of the U n i t e d S t a t e s . A n d n o w , w h a t is proposed by t h i s a m e n d - .
meat?
W h y , to o p e n a n e w this d i s p u t a t i o n , w h i c h h a s been a l m o s t entirely c l o s e d J
to throw a fire-brand a m o n g the P e o p l e of the S t a t e s ; to r e v i v e a g a i n the1 d i s c u s *
s i o n s and disputes of former t i m e s , and t o a w a k e n all the a n i m o s i t i e s a n d e m b i t t e r tfie*
f e e l i n g s w h i c h h a v e b e c o m e quiet, and are c o v e r e d up as in the repose and s i l e n c e o f
t h e grave. Is it not quite o b v i o u s that s u c h w i l l be the result o f a d o p t i n g this amend*".
raent
"Will it not r e v i v e the very j e a l o u s i e s it is proposed to allay ? H u m a n n a ture is the s a m e in all a g e s and all countries, and o n c e afford the opportunity t o i n dulge old opinions and act upon t h e m ; to permit former o p i n i o n s to g u i d e a n d r e g u late the c o n d u c t ; to allow matters long considered as s e t i h d, to be treated a s n e W
q u e s t i o n s , and will not the result be j u s t w h a t is dreaded by the a d v o c a t e s of the a m e n d m e n t — t h e free and full i n d u l g e n c e of all those j e a l o u s i e s and f e e l i n g s w h i c h QUgfet
rather to be allayed than e x c i t e d ?
W i l l not the question of power a g a i n be d i s c u s s e d
i n the legislative hails of the S t a t e s ?
W i l l it not be regarded a s a l e g i t i m a t e a n d
fair topic of a r g u m e n t ? A n d w d l not matters of expediency
be m e r g e d in q u e s t i o o S
o f power?
W i l l there not be d a n g e r that the inquiry, w h e t h e r the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f
a branch will be beneficial or o t h e r w i s e , to the S t a l e s , will be lost s i g h t of in t h e m o r e
absorbing topic of the right to establish a B a n k at all ? A n d is there no reason t o ap*p r e h e n d that, w h e n a charter is presented to a S t a t e to obiain its a s s e n t to the iocatiott
o f an office w i t h i n its l i m i t s , o n e of the principal topics of debate w i l l be, w h e t h e r ,
any p o w e r e x i s t s to g i v e s u c h a s s e n t as will justify that location ? I put this inquiry
to those w h o think this a m e n d m e n t is calculated to produce harmony and quiet a m o n g
the S t a t e s . I n d e p e n d e n t , h o w e v e r , of all this, w h a t will be the course a d o p t e d , in
s o m e of ihc S t a t e s , if their a s s e n t be m a d e n e c e s s a r y to the location o f t h e b r a n c h e s ?
I will state w h a t will be the c o u r s e , in several particulars. It is w e l l k n o w n t h a t
m a n y of the local institutions c o n s i d e r , or affict to consider, the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f abranch of a Hank of the U n i t e d S l a t e s as prejudicial to their i n t e r e s t s — a s intvrferinjf
w i t h their l e g i t i m a t e b u s i n e s s — a s reducing their profits—as e x e r c i s i n g an u n n e c e s s a r y
control over their i s s u e s , and l i m i t i n g the a m o u n t of their loans. \ \ ? i t h s u c h v i e w s ,
t h e s e institutions may array t h e m s e l v e s in hostility to the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a branch*
T h e y may enter the political arena, and candidates for the L e g i s l a t u r e m a y be s e l e c t e d and voted for in reference 10 their opinions on this subject* T h u s the q u e s t i o n
of B a n k or no H a n k m a y b e c o m e a p o l i t i c a l question, and p a i t i e s a n d S t a t e i n s t i t u t i o n *
m a y he arrayed at the p o l l s — S t a t e pride he appealed t o — S t a t e j e a l o u s i e s be fostered,,
and a men* question of e x p e d i e n c y m a y be turned into a question of party politjds^
or be m a d e to d e p e n d , in a m e a s u r e , upon s< ifi-h c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , irrespective o f the,,
public jrood. Hut to this array of opposition from interested i n d i v i d u a l s and corpO*
ration*, from political d e m a g o g u e s , and selfish politicians, and from party predilection^,
for party purposes, are to be added, other matters w h i c h will not fail to create
dirih
s i o n s and d i s s e n s i o n s , and ultimately perhaps deprive the n a t i o n , and the poople.of
t h e S l a t e s , of the benefit of an office of d i s c o u n t and deposit. In m a n y o f the S t a t e *
a gre^t desire will probably be manifested to i m p o s e c o n d i t i o n s to the location o f at;
b r a n c h ; and I h a v e n o doubt great exertions will be m a d e to i m p o s e t h e m , a n d / i f
w o u l d not certainly be matter of surprise it s o m e o f t h e m should prevail. T h e r e m a y




13
|>e almost as many different projects, suggested in the form of conditions, as there are
m e m b e r s of the legislative body ; but among those which will probably be the most
prominent, and the most favorably received, are the following :
First. That the capital employed at the branch be taxed to the same extent as the
banking institutions of the State. This will be a popular condition, and will be urged
a s being perfectly just. It will be said that there is no sufficient reason why the
stockholders of a State Bank should be required to deduct from then dividends a given
sum* by way of tax, upon the franchise of banking, and the stockholders of the Bank
of the United States be exempted from it; that it is just both should pay for the franc h i s e , in the same way, and to the same extent.
Without sufficiently attending to
t h e well defined distinction, that the power to tax the Bank, as a corporation, may be
abused, so as to destroy the franchise, and thus defeat all the national purposes des i g n e d by the establishment of a branch in a particular State, the subject is viewed
only in reference to what is supposed to be an improper distinction, between a State
a n d a national institution, and the right and the equity of imposing the tax will be
urged and insisted on—and would it be too much to say that, in many States, the argum e n t would prevail? And if it should, or if it is believed by capitalists that it would
be successful, is it probable they would subscribe to the stock, and that the subscriptions would be filled up?
Second. Another portion of the members of a Legislature misrht deem it proper to
s a y , previous to granting the assent asked, that as the institution solicited the privilege of doing business within the limits of the State, it would be not only prudent,
but r i £ h t f o r t h e St f>? t o ?* v e s?m* agency in its management, and therefore ou*ht
to r e q « i r e \ a * a ^ o n d r ^ l l ° . n ' t h a t * h * S t a t e m*Y select one person at least to be a director i n the branch
This would be urged, on the ground that there ought to be noihin^ concealed from the knowledge of a confidential officer of the State, in the
transactions of the institution; that it is the duty of the State to protect the rights
of its own citizens, and as the business operations of the Bank would more or less
affect individuals, it would be very proper that protection should be afforded them
in t h e form proposed. It would also be said, that so far from causing any injury to
the Bank, it would tend to allay any fears which might exist from the influence of
foreign institution, and consequently that the Bank should rather solicit than obj e c t to such a supervision. Such a proposition would probably find some advocates
L n d might combine other interests in its support.
'
Thud.
Anolher class of legislators would urge the propriety and necessity of
superadding to the consent of the State, a provision retaining the right to withdraw it,
after the lapse of a specified period of time. This would be presented to the consideration of members, as a matter of much consequence. It would be said, that the
state of things might hereafter be such in the Commonwealth, as to render the continuance of a branch injurious to the interests and obnoxious to the feelings of the
People ; that it might come in conflict with their State institutions ; and produce broils
and jealousies, and mutual criminations and recriminations ; that it might be so mana&ed as to give just cause of offence ; that its operations might come in collision
w i t h the interests of the State, and that a due regard to the sovereignty, the rights,
and the authority of the State, would require that a power should be reserved to it,
%o annul the act giving the assent, and unless that was acquiesced in, the asssnt
ought, in the first instance, to be withheld.
This proposition would receive some
gtipport, and enlist many advocates.
Fourth. There would probably be, in some of the States, a bitter controversy as
to the place in the State where the branch should be located. It is not to be disguised
that there are rival cities in the same State, each of which would urge its claims to
be selected as the place for locating the office. And there are few matters which
engender more hard feelings, and occasion more serious controversy, than those which
relate to the selection of a place (among many which are named for it) for the establishment of an important public institution.
How often has it been seen, in the
^pffbrts made to obtain the establishment of a State Bank, or a branch of it, a State
hosp*ta'» an asylum for the deaf and dumb, or the blind, and even of a penitentiary. Something of the same spirit would be manifested in relation to the location
of an office of discount and deposit. Each city would have its friends and supporters ; each would consider its claims as the most meritorious, and while contending
for the prize, the interests of the State and nation might he overlooked in the
fierce contests which would exist, and the exasperation might arise to such a degree,
as that a majority could not be found in favor of any place; and should a majority




14
agree, the place might be quite unsuitable, and, in the opinion of the Bank y o n *
w h i c h they could not approve- T h e s e are a few of the conditions w h i c h might be infer
osed upon the Bank, as precedent to the exercise of the right to locate a branch*
l a n y more might be supposed, and doubtless a great many more would b e offered*
E n o u g h have been mentioned to s h o w how u n w i s e it would be to throw this apple of
discord into legislative halls, and great and well founded would be the apprehensio**
that the a s s e n t would be refused; except upon terms deemed to be wholly inadmissible*
I s there no fear that e v e n the doubts which would be thrown over the subject, might
deter capitalists from becoming subscribers to the institution, and thus every national
benefit be lost to the country ? I have made these suggestions with a v i e w of calling
the attention of the S e n a t e to ihe great disadvantages, not to say, serious evils whicR
might follow from requiring the assent of the States to the location of the branches,*
and to urge the expediency of refraining from giving this powei to t h e S t a t e s , ualea*;
deemed indispensable to attain great and important ends of usefulness to the country*
1 k n o w it has been said that Legislatures will be so convinced of the utility of the
branches in promoting the business of their citizens, and in the facilities w h i c h th$¥i
will afford, that they will unconditionally assent to the establishment of the branches, ft
m a y possibly be so, but legislators ase but men, and among them therejare certainly
s o m e t i m e s to be found politicians ; and w h e n there shall be united the opposition o£
State institutions,—the efforts of party leaders, the popular topic of equal taxation, tfaa
benefit of State directors, the importance of a reserved power to withdraw an assent
once g i v e n , the conflicting claims of rival cities, for the location of the branchr*
w h e n all these matters, and others which might, but need not be mentioned, are dnljfe
considered, can it be wise to hazard the existence, or the benefits of a great national
institution, necessary and indispensable to secure the prosperity of the country, apd
the operations of the Treasury, upon the contingency of the voluntary and unconditional consent of the S t a t e s , to the establishment of offices w i t h i n their limit*,
so that these important objects may thereby be attained? I leave this question foi
those who advocate this amendment, and for the S e n a t e to answer.
If I do not mistake, it is quite evident that the grounds of expediency on which*
this a m e n d m e n t has been placed, will not sustain it. T h e r e does not, as it seem*
to m e , exist at present, any necessity for adopting it, nor any benefit w h i c h will foU:
l o w irom it. On the c o n t r a r y , ! can foresee much mischief as the result, without
any corresponding good. I have incidentally referred to these evils, while examining
the Views of expediency presented by my friends w h o have advocated the propose;
tion, I will add a few suggestions more, and then relieve the S e n a t e from *S#
further consumption of their time.
_ .
T h i s amendment, although it does not expressly, and in terms, deny the power ofCongress to establish these offices, y e t it practically denies it* T h e strong irapltca*?
tion of the want of this power, derived irom the insertion of the words, ** with <*#
asse?it of the Legislatures
of ihe States*" is itself highly objectionable, I at*
aware that my friends suppose, and I know that they are sincere in the belief and CO**
victton, that these words contain no denial of the power, but are merely indicative »
a disposition not now to exercise it. But at this period of our history, and i n view
of all which has been said and done conferring the authority claimed, the very deter>
mination not to use it, carries with it strong doubts of its existence. But waiving*
this v i e w of the subject, I will call their attention to another asj ect in w h i c h it shoul*
be considered. I have said the amendment practically
denies the power- A n d iM*not so? I make no pretensions to the gift of prophecy—1 lay no claim to any *§*
perior foresight. But I will venture to predict, that, if this a m e n d m e n t be adopted
no charter of a Bank of the U n i t e d S t a t e s , in all time to c o m e , will be grants*^
without the insertion of a similar provision. Once ask the S t a t e s for their assent**^
preliminary to the location of the branches, and you will be required, ever after*!*
ask it. It is in this respect like the extension of the right of suffrage. W h e n oac*
allowed, it can never be recalled. T h i s results from the combination o f c a u s e s W
w h i c h I have heretofore alluded, and which, while they may operate either to p r e r « |
branches from being established or to encumber them with conditions, will ForeretJlM
united to demand and insist that, in all future charters, the assent of the States ftbiP
be required- I will not occupy the time of the S e n a t e in referring again to tb#*$
powerful and all-controlling causes, nor to the manner in w h i c h they will be brMJgfctj
t o bear upon the question of requiring assent in charters w h i c h may be hereaw*fS!
granted, nor to the overwhelming influence w h i c h they will exert upon this queatifl^
H a v i n g once g i v e n up the old, well established and sound doctrine that C o n g i ^ !

S




15
g p t t y i n c o r p o r a t e a B a n k w i t h b r a n c h e s irrespective of t h e S t a t e s , a n d h a v i n g y i e l d e d
^Bi> t h p S t a t e s t h e r i g h t to give or withhold their co-operation in a point e s s e n t i a l , t h a t
fright w i l l n e v e r be g i v e n up* S e n a t o r s will be i n s t r u c t e d , a n d r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s r e i g u e a t e d n o t to v o t e for a n y c h a r t e r w h i c h does not c o n t a i n s u c h a provision affirming
S U e h a. rigiit ; a n d t h u s the assent will, in all future t i m e , b e m a d e a n i n d i s p e n s a b l e prer e q u i s i t e t o t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t of an office of d i s c o u n t and deposit ; a n d so, t h e e n t i r e
^ o w c r o f C o n g r e s s over the subject, a l t h o u g h it m a y not literally, will practically, be
j f i r e n u p a n d abandoned* I cannot, u n l e s s a g r e a t e r n e c e s s i t y exists t h a n I c a n a t
p r e s e n t p e r c e i v e , record m y n a m e in favor of a proposition w h i c h m a y produce s u c h
results.
I p r e f e r to w a l k in t h e plain p a t h m a r k e d out by m y p r e d e c e s s o r s , w h i c h t h e
e x p e r i e n c e o f fifty y e a r s h a s proved safe, and to e x e r c i s e a p o w e r so beneficial, so
firmly e s t a b l i s h e d , instead of subjecting it to t h e caprices, t h e j e a l o u s i e s , t h e conflictS a g i n t e r e s t s , w h i c h m i g h t possibly be brought to b e a r a g a i n s t it.
^ 1 m i g h t , w i t h propriety, call t h e attention of the S e n a t e to t h e q u e s t i o n , w h e t h e r
{$tt t h e e v e n t of the refusal of s o m e of the S t a t e s , in wfiich t h e location of b r a n c h e s
» m o s t i m p o r t a n t , to g i v e the required a s s e n t ) the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of the c o n t e m p l a t e d
a g e n c i e s will, in t h e view of capitalists, be sufficient to i n d u c e t h e m to subscribe for
ft t o o k i n t h e B a n k . M u c h m i g h t be said, a n d p e r h a p s w i t h profit, on this point. B u t
I f o r b e a r e n t e r i n g upon it n o w . It may be 3 t h a t a suitable o p p o r t u n i t y will h e r e a f t e r
oflerA f t d n o w , M r . P r e s i d e n t , in v i e w of all the m a t t e r s to w h i c h I h a v e a d v e r t e d , I
h f t v e c o m e t o t h e conclusion that I c a n n o t , u n d e r e x i s t i n g c i r c u m s t a n c e s , vote for
t k i s a m e a d m e n t . I can perceive n o n e c e s s i t y for its adoption. I c a n see g r e a t evils
i $ ; h i c l i m i g h t a r i s e w e r e it to be m a d e a part of this charter. I r e g r e t to differ from
f r i e n d s for w h o s e opinions I e n t e r t a i n great respect, a n d in w h o s e patriotism I repose
t h e ra*>st entire confidence. B u t I a m c o n s t r a i n e d to s a y , in a n s w e r to t h e a p p e a l
n v h i c h h a s b e e n m a d e to m e , by my friend from M a s s a c h u s e t t s , ( M r , C H O A T E , ) t h a t
1 c a n n o t n o w go w i t h h i m u p o n this untried and d a n g e r o u s e x p e r i m e n t .
Entertaining
t h e v i e w s w h i c h " I do in regard to this subject, I should consider that I w a s r e c r e a n t
t o t h o t r u s t reposed in m e by a g e n e r o u s a n d confiding S t a t e , if I w e r e n o w to g i v e
%ip9 e i t h e r expressly or by implication, t h e p o w e r w h i c h I c a n n o t but t h i n k this
a m e n d m e n t practically denies—and c o m i n g , as I do, from t h e land of t h e C H A R T E R
O A K * ( a l l u d e d to by the S e n a t o r from M a s s a c h u s e t t s , ) w h i c h still lives, fresh a n d
g r e e n — a m e m o r i a l of t h e spirit of freedom a n d r e s i s t a n c e to t y r a n n y a n d o p p r e s s i o n w h i c h h a s ever c h a r a c t e r i z e d her sons in every period of her h i s t o r y — a n d r e p r e s e n t i n g a S t a t e w h i c h h a s sent to this body an E L L S W O R T H and a S H E R M A N , n a m e s
h o n o r e d a n d revered, and w h i c h h a s impressed upon all her c i t i z e n s t h e g r e a t d u t y
o f s u s t a i n i n g t h e l a w s a s e x p o u n d e d by t h e h i g h e s t j u d i c i a l a u t h o r i t y of t h e l a n d , I
f e e l t h a t I a m a c t u a t e d by t h e s a m e spirit w h i c h s h e h a s ever m a n i f e s t e d , a n d a m e x p r e s s i n g her opinions a n d h e r w i s h e s in t h u s publicly d e c l a r i n g m y d e t e r m i n a t i o n
t o v o t e , n o w , a g a i n s t the a m e n d m e n t offered by t h e S e n a t o r from V i r g i n i a , a n d U>
' r e c o r d m y n a m e w i t h those w h o believe t h a t a m e n d m e n t to be both u n n e c e s s a r y
jtnd inexpedient.





Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102