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. Jit a meeting of the Committee appointed by the Democratic
Convention of the friends of Jackson and Wolf held at Harrisburg on the 5th of March, 1832, convened at the house of
Amos Holahan, Philadelphia,
on Monday evening, the ISth
of July, IS32.
A L D E R M A N S A M U E L B A D G E R was called to the chair,
and J. A. P H I L L I P S appointed Secretary.

The following resolution was unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That this Committee highly approve of the sentiments expressed in
the late message of the President of the United States, and that u sub-committee
of five be appointed to aid in the circulation of the said message throughout the
State, in the name of the Committee.

Jftessage from the President of the United States,
returning the Bank Bill, with his objections, 4*c.
TO T H E S E N A T E :
T H E bill to " m o d i f y and continue" the act entitled " an act
to incorporate the subscribers of the Bank of the United States,"
was presented to me on the 4th of Jsly.iostr.nt. Having considered it with that solemn regard tc'Oil; pn^<;Ipl?5 of tfre Constitution which the day was calculated to' inspire, a n ^ l ^ o ^ e to the
conclusion that it ought roc to Become a law, I herewith rei;,rn it
to the Senate, in which, koriginr.ted, (w^fy my objections." tl".
A Bank of the \In.itcd^States,is, jn.'nvaay respoctr, convenient
for the government and useful to tlic people". * Entertaining tn>$
opinion, and dcHjjly impressed with the belief that some of th'o
powers and privileges p'^'S^ed" by j,he' existing bjink are unauthorized by the Constitution,. s^er//\eA<fYue, iigl-tslo'tfoe States,
and dangerous to the liberties of the people, I felt it my duty, at
an early period of m y administration, to call the attention of Congress to the practicability of organizing an institution combining
all its advantages, and obviating these objections. I sincerely
regret that, in the act before me, I can perceive none of those
modifications of the Bank charter which are necessary, in m y
opinion, to make it compatible with justice, with sound policy, or
with the Constitution of our country.
The present corporate body, denominated the President, Directors and Company of the Bank of the United States, will have
existed, at the time this act is intended to take effect, twenty
years. It enjoys an exclusive privilege of banking under the
authority of the General*Government, a monopoly of its favour
and support, and, as a necessary consequence, almost a monopoly
of the foreign and domestic exchange. T h e powers, privileges
and favours bestowed upon it, in the original charter, by increasing
the value of the stock far above its par value, operated as a gratuity of many millions to the stockholders.

An apology may be found for the failure to guard against this,
result, in the consideration that the effect of the original act o f
incorporation could not be certainly foreseen at the time of i t s
passage. The act before me proposes another gratuity to t h e
holders of the same stock, and, in many cases, to the same m e n ,
of at least seven millions mere. This donation finds no apology
in any uncertainty as to the effect of the act. On all hands it is^
conceded that its passage will increase at least twenty or t h i r t y
per cent, more the market price of the stock, subject to the p a y ment of the annuity of §200,000 per year, secured by the act; <
thus adding, in a moment, one-fourth to its par value. It is n o t
our own citizens only who are to receive the bounty of our government. More than eight millions of the stock of this Bank are
held by foreigners. By this act, the American Republic proposes
virtually to make them a present of some millions of dollars. F o r
these gratuities to foreigners, and to some of our own opulent
citizens, the act secures no equivalent whatever. They are the
certain gains of the present stockholders under the operation of
this act, after making full allowance for the payment of the bonus*
E v e r y monopoly, and all exclusive privileges, are granted at
the expense of the public, which ought to receive a fair equivalent*
The many millions which this act proposes to bestow on the stock-*
holders of the existing,.Boa k* must come, directly or indirectly,
out of the,eatrt;ftg»Tpf *tjte &merigan people. It is due to t h e m ,
and exclusive pT\*
v i l e g l ^ tha\ they should at least exjfctfKrr, them as much as t h e y
an^\vorth in open mar^et % t The vafu^'ofllhe monopoly in t h i s
eastf, may beV^orrfecffy *if:ictfaine<3. The^Uv^ty-eight millions at
iftotk would p r o b a b ^ b e k l : w a d v a n c e of ftfty |ier cent, and c o n w
!iiiand in market at least forty-two milljpns'of ^Joilars, subject t o
t h e pa^mfctitrfffi trfie'^reseat boAUsi-^-Xhe present value of t h e
of dollars, and this th&
act proposes to sell for three millions, payable in fifteen annual
instalments of $200,000 each.
It is not conceivable how the present stockholders can have a n y
claim to the special favour of the Government. The present c o r poration has enjoyed its monopoly during the period stipulated (k
the original contract. If we must have such a corporation, w h y
should not the Government sell out the whole stock and thus
secure to the people the full market value of the privileges grantedK
W h y should not Congress create and sell twenty eight millions of
stock, incorporating the purchasers with all the powers and privileges secured in this act, and putting the premium upon the sales
into the treasury?
But this act does not permit competition in the purchase of thi*
tnonopoly. It seems to be predicated on the erroneous idea, that
the present stockholders have a prescriptive right, not only to the
favo u r but to the bounty of Government It appears that more
than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners, and the r e sidue is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of t h e

richest class: for their benefit does this act exclude "the whole
American people from competition in the purchase of this monopoly, and dispose of it for many millions less than it is worth.
This seems the less excusable, because some of our citizens, not
now stockholders, petitioned that the door of competition might
be opened, and offered to take a charter on terms much more
favourable to the government and country.
But the proposition, although made by men whose aggregate
wealth is believed to be equal to all the private stock of the existing Bank, has been set aside, and the bounty of our Government
is proposed to be again bestowed on the few who have been fortunate enough to secure the stock, and, at this moment, wield the
power of the existing institution. I cannot perceive the justice or
policy of this course. If our Government must sell monopolies,
it would seem to be its duty to take nothing less than their full
value: and if gratuities must be made once in fifteen or twenty
years, let them not be bestowed on the subjects of a foreign government, nor upon a designated and favoured class of men in our own
country. It is but justice and good policy, as far as the nature of
the case will admit, to confine our favours to our own fellow citizens, and let each in his turn enjoy an opportunity to profit by our
bounty. In the bearings of the act before me upon these points,
I find ample reasons why it should not become a law.
It has been urged as an argument in favor of re-chartering the
present Bank, that the calling in its loans will produce great embarrassment and distress. T h e time allowed to close its concerns,
is ample, and if it has been well managed, its pressure will be
light, and heavy only in case its management has been bad.—If,
therefore, it shall produce distress, the fault will be its own, and it
would furnish a reason against renewing a power which has been
so obviously abused. But, will there ever be a time when this
reason will be less powerful? To acknowledge its force, is to
admit that the bank ought to be perpetual, and as a consequence,
the present stockholders and those inheriting their rights, as successors, be established a privileged order, clothed both with great
political power, and enjoying immense pecuniary advantages from
their connection with the government.
The modifications of the existing charter, proposed by this act,
are not such, in my view, as make it consistent with the rights of
the States or the liberties of the people. The qualification of the
right of the Bank to hold real estate, the limitation of its power to
establish branches, and the power reserved to Congress to forbid
the circulation of small notes, are restrictions comparatively of
little value or importance. All the objectionable principles of the
existing corporation, and most of its odious features, are retained
without alleviation.
The fourth section provides " that the notes or bills of the said
corporation, although the same be on the faces thereof, respectively '
made payable at one plaee^onlyy shall, nevertheless, be received by
the said corporation a^tne B&h'ky"or at airy of^he offices of discount


'!0, .>

and deposit thereof, if tendered in liquidation or payment of anybalance or balances, due to said corporation or to such office o f
discount and deposit from any other incorporated B a n k . " T h i s
provision secures to the State'Banks a legal privilege in the B a n k
of the United States, which is withheld from all private citizens.
If a State Bank in Philadelphia, owe the Bank of the U n i t e d
States, and have notes issued by the St. Louis Branch, it can p a y
the debt with those notes; but if a merchant, mechanic, or other
private citizen be in like circumstances, he cannot by law pay h i s
debt with those notes, but must sell them at a discount, or send
them to St. Louis to be cashed. This boon, conceded to the State
Banks, though not unjust in itself, is most odious, because it does
not measure out equal justice to the high and the low, the rich and
the poor.
To the extent of its practical effect, it is a bond of union among
the banking establishments of the nation, erecting them into an
interest, separate from that of the people, and its necessary tendency is to unite the Bank of the United States and the State
Banks in any measure which may be thought conducive to their
common interest.
The ninth section of the act recognizes principles of worse tendency than any provision of the present charter.
It enacts that " t h e Cashier of the Bank shall annually report
to the Secretary of the Treasury the names of all stockholders w h o
are not resident citizens of the United States, and on the application of the Treasurer of any State, shall make out and transmit to
such Treasurer a list of stockholders residing in, or citizens of
such state, with the amount of stock owned by each." Although
this provision taken in connection with a decision of the Supreme
Court, surrenders, by its silence, the right of the States to tax the
banking institutions created by this corporation, under the name
of branches, throughout the Union,—it is evidently intended to
be construed as a concession of their right to tax that portion of
the stock that may be held by their own citizens and residents.
In this light, if the act becomes a law, it will be understood by the
States, who will probably proceed to levy a tax equal to that paid
upon the stock of banks incorporated by themselves. In some
States that tax is now one per cent., either on the capital or on the
shares, and that may be assumed as the amount which all citizens
or resident stockholders will be taxed under the operation of this
act. As it is only the stock held in the States, and not that employed within them, which would be subject to taxation, and as
the names of foreign stockholders are not to be reported to the
Treasurers of the States, it is obvious that the stock held by them
will be exempt from this burden. Their annual profits will,
therefore, be one per cent, more than the citizen stockholders, and
as the dividends of the Bank may be safely estimated at seven per
cent, the stock will be worth ten or fifteen per cent, more to
foreigners, than citizens of the United States. To appreciate the
effects which this state of things will produce, we must take a

brief review of the operations and present condition of the Bank
of the United States.
By documents submitted to Congress at the present session, it
appears that on the 1st of January, 1832, of the twenty-eight millions of private stock in the corporation, S'8,405,500 were held by
foreigners, mostly of Great Britain. . The amount of stock held
in the nine Western and South-western States, is $140,200; and in
the four Southern States, js 65,623,100; and in the Middle and
Eastern States, is about Si3,522,000. The profits of the Bank in
1831, as shown in a statement to Congress, were about $3,455,59$;
of this there accrued in the nine Western States, about §1,640,048;
in the four Southern States, about $352,507; and in the Middle
and Eastern States, about $1,463,041. As little stock is held in
the west, it is obvious that the debt of the people, in that section,
to the Bank, is principally a debt to the eastern and foreign stockholders; that the interest they pay upon it, is carried into the
Eastern States and into Europe; and that it is a burden upon their
industry and a drain of their currency, which no country can bear
without inconvenience and occasional distress. To meet this
burden, and equalize the exchange operations of the Bank, the
amount of specie drawn from those states through its branches,
within the last two years, as shown by its official reports, was
about $6,000,000. More than half a million of this amount does
not stop in the Eastern States, but passes on to Europe, to pay the
dividends of the foreign stockholders. In the principle of taxation
recognized by this act, the western States find no adequate compensation for this perpetual burden on their industry and drain of
their currency. The Branch Bank at Mobile made, last year,
$95,140; yet, under the provisions of this act, the state of Alabama
can raise no revenue from these profitable operations, because not
a share of the stock is held by any of her citizens. Mississippi
and Missouri are in the same condition in relation to the branches
at Natchez and St. Louis; and such, in a greater or less degree, is
the condition of every Western State.
The tendency of the plan of taxation which this act proposes,
will be to place the whole United States in the same relation to
foreign countries, which the Western States now bear to the
Eastern. When by a tax on resident stockholders, the stock of
this Bank is made worth 10 or 15 per cent, more to foreigners
than residents, most of it will inevitably leave the country.
Thus will this provision, in its practical effect, deprive the
Eastern, as well as the Southern and Western States, of the means
of raising a revenue from the extension of business, and great
profits of this institution. It will make the American people
debtors to aliens in nearly the whole amount due to this Bank,
and send across the Atlantic from two to five millions of specie
every year to pay the Bank dividends.
In another of its bearings this provision is fraught with danger.
Of the twenty-five directors of this Bank, five are chosen by the
Government, and twenty by the citizen stockholders.—From all

voice in these elections, the foreign stockholders are excluded by
the charter. In proportion, therefore, as the stock is transferred
to foreign holders, the extent of suffrage in the choice of directors
is curtailed. Already is almost a third of the stock in foreign
hands, and not represented in elections. It is constantly passing
out of the country, and this act will accelerate its departure. The
entire control would necessarily fall into the hands of a few citizen
stockholders, and the ease with which the object would be accomplished, would be a temptation to designing men to secure that
control in their own hands by monopolizing the remaining stock.
There is danger that a President and directors would then be able
to elect themselves from year to year, and without responsibility
or control, manage the whole concerns of the Bank during the
existence of its charter. It is easy to conceive that great evils to
our country and its institutions might flow from such a concentration of power in the hands of a few men irresponsible to the
Is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a Bank,
that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country? The President of the Bank has told us that most of the State Banks exist
by its forbearance. Should its influence become concentrated, as
it may, under the operation of such an act as this in the hands of
a self-elected Directory, whose interests are identified with those
of the foreign stockholders, will there not be cause to tremble for
the purity of our elections in peace, and for the independence of
our country in war? Their power would be great whenever they
might choose to exert it; but if this monopoly were regularly
renewed every fifteen or twenty years, on terms proposed by
themselves, they might seldom, in peace, put forth their strength
to influence elections, or control the affairs of the nation. But, if
any private citizen, or public functionary should interpose to curtail its powers or prevent a renewal of its privileges, it cannot be
doubted that he would be made to feel its influence.
Should the stock of the Bank principally pass into the hands of
the subjects of a foreign country, and we should unfortunately
become involved in a war with that country, what would be our
condition? Of the course which would be pursued by a Bank
almost wholly owned by the subjects of a foreign power, and
managed by those whose interests, if not affections, would run in
the same direction, there can be no doubt. All its operations
within, would be in aid of the hostile fleets and armies without;
controlling our currency, receiving our public monies, and holding
thousands of our citizens in dependance, it would be more formidable and dangerous than the naval and military power of the
^ If we must have a Bank with private stockholders, every consideration of sound policy, and every impulse of American feeling,
admonishes us it should be purely American.
Its stockholders
should be composed exclusively of our own citizens, who at least
ought to be friendly to our own government, and willing to sup-

port it in times of difficulty and danger. So abundant is domestic
capital, that competition in subscribing for the stock of local banks,
has recently led almost to riots. To a Bank, exclusively of American Stockholders, possessing the powers and privileges granted by
this act, subscriptions for two hundred millions of dollars could
readily be obtained. Instead of sending abroad the stock of the
Bank, in which government must deposit its funds, and on which
it must rely to sustain its credit in times of emergency, it would
rather seem to be expedient to prohibit its sale to aliens under
penalty of absolute forfeiture.
It is maintained by the advocates of the Bank that its constitutionality in all its features ought to be considered as settled by precedent, and by the decision of the Supreme Court. To this conclusion I cannot assent. Mere precedent is a dangerous source of
authority, and should not be regarded as deciding questions of
constitutional power, except where the acquiescence of the people
and the States can be considered as well settled. So far from this
being the case on this subject, an argument against the Bank might
be based on precedent. One Congress in 1791 decided in favour
of a Bank; another in 1811 decided against it. One Congress in
1S15 decided against a bank; another in 1816 decided in its favor.
Prior to the present Congress, therefore, the precedents drawn
from that source were equal. If we resort to the States, the
expressions of Legislative, Judicial and Executive opinions against
the Bank, have been probably to those in its favor, as four to one.
T h e r e is nothing in precedent, therefore, which, if its authority
were admitted, ought to weigh in favour of the act before me.
If the opinion of the Supreme Court covered the whole ground
of this act, it ought not to control the co-ordinate authorities of
this Government The Congress, the Executive and the Court,
must each for itself, be guided by its own opinion of the Constitution. Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution, swears that he will support it as he understands it, and
not as it is understood by others. It is as much the duty of the
House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of the President to
decide upon the constitutionality of any bill or resolution which
may be presented to them for passage or approval, as it is of the
supreme judges when it may be brought before them for judicial
decision. The opinion of the Judges has no more authority over
Congress than the opinion of Congress has over the Judges, and
on that point the President is independent of both. The authority
of the Supreme Court must not, therefore, be permitted to control
the Congress or the Executive, when acting in their legislative
capacities, but to have only such influence as the force of their reasoning may deserve.
But in the case relied upon, the Supreme Court have not decided
that all the features of this corporation are compatible with the
Constitution. It is true that the court have said that the law incorporating the Bank is a constitutional exercise of power by Congress. But, taking into view the whole opinion of the court, and

the reasoning by which they have come to that conclusion, I understand them to have decided that, inasmuch as a Bank is a n
appropriate means fur carrying into effect the enumerated powers
of the general Government, therefore the law incorporating it is
in accordance with that provision of the Constitution which
declares that Congress shall have power " t o make all laws which
shall be necessary and proper for carrying those powers into execution.'' Having satisfied themselves, that the word " necessary'
in the Constitution, means "needful"
to," and that " a B a n k " is a convenient, useful
and essential instrument in the prosecution of the Government's
" fiscal operations/' they conclude, that to " use one must he within
the discretion of Congress, and that " t h e act to incorporate the
Bank of the United States is a law made in pursuance of the Constitution:" " b u t , " say they, "where the law is not
and is really calculated to effect any of the objects entrusted to
the Government, to undertake here to inquire into the degree of
its necessity, would be to pass the line which circumscribes the
Judicial Department
and to tread on Legislative
The principle here affirmed is that " the degree of its necessity,"
involving all the details of a Banking institution, is a question
exclusively for legislative consideration. A Bank is constitutional: but it is the province of the Legislature to determine
whether this or that particular power, privilege or exemption, is
" necessary and proper" to enable the Bank to discharge its duties
to the Government, and from their decision there is no appeal
to the courts of justice. Under the decision of the Supreme Court,
therefore, it is the exclusive province of Congress and the President to decide, whether the particular features of this act are
"necessary and proper," in order to enable the Bank to perform
conveniently and efficiently the public duties assigned to it as a
fiscal agent, and therefore constitutional, or unnecessary
improper, and therefore unconstitutional.
Without commenting on the general principle affirmed by the
Supreme Court, let us examine the details of this act in accordance
with the rule of legislative action which they have laid down. It
will be found that many of the powers and privileges conferred on
it, cannot be supposed necessary for the purpose for which it is
proposed to be created, and are not therefore means necessary to
attain the end in view, and consequently not justified by the constitution.
The original act of incorporation, section 2 1 , enacts " t h a t no
other Bank shall be established by any future law of the United
States during the continuance of the corporation hereby created,
for which the faith of the United States is hereby pledged, Provided, Congress may renew existing charters for Banks within the
District of Columbia not increasing the capital thereof, and may
also establish any other Bank or Banks in said District, with capitals not exceeding in the whole six millions of dollars, if they shall

deem it expedient." This provision is continued in force, by the
act before me, fifteen years from the 3d of March, 1836.
If Congress possessed the power to establish one Bank, they had
power to establish more than one, if, in their opinion, two or more
Banks had been " necessary" to facilitate the execution of the
powers delegated to them in the constitution. If they possessed
the power to establish a second Bank, it was a power derived from
the constitution, to be exercised from time to time, and at anytime
when the interests of the country or the emergencies of the Government might make it expedient. It was possessed by one Congress as well as another, and by all Congresses alike, and alike at
at every session. But the Congress of 1816 has taken it away
from their successors for twenty years, and the congress of 1832
proposes to abolish it for fifteen years more. It cannot be " necessary" or "proper" for < ongress to barter away or divestthemselves of any of the powers, vested in them by the constitution, to
be exercised for the public good. It is not " necessary" to the
efficiency of the bank, nor is it "proper" in relation to themselves
and their successors. They may properly use the discretion vested
in them; but they may not limit the discretion of their successors.
This restriction on themselves and grant of a monopoly to the Bank,
-is therefore, unconstitutional.
In another point of view, this provision is a palpable attempt to
amend the constitution by an act of legislation. The constitution
declares that the " Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive
Legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the District of Columbia.
Its constitutional power, therefore, to establish Banks in the District of Columbia, and increase their capital at will, is unlimited and
uncontrollable by any other power than that which gave authority^
to the constitution. Yet this act declares that Congress shall not
increase the capital of existing banks, nor create other banks with
capitals exceeding in the whole six millions of dollars. The constitution declares, that Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive legislation over this District, " in all cases whatsoever;"
and this act declares they shall not.
Which is the supreme law
of the land ? This provision cannot be " necessary," or
or constitutional,
unless the absurdity be admitted, that whenever
it be " necessary and proper," in the opinion of Congress, they
have a right to barter away one portion of the powers vested in
them by the constitution as a means of executing the rest.
On two subjects only does the constitution recognize in Congress the power to grant exclusive privileges or monopolies. It
declares that " Congress shall have power to promote the progress
of science and useful arts, by securing, for limited times, to authors
and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and
discoveries." Out of this express delegation of power, have grown
our laws of patents and copy-rights. As the constitution expressly
delegates to Congress the power to grant exclusive privileges in
these cases as the means of executing the substantive power " t o
promote the progress of science and useful arts," it is consistent

with the fair rules of construction to conclude that such a power
a s not intended to be granted as a means of accomplishing a n y
other end. On every other subject which comes within the scope
of Congressional power, there is an ever living discretion in the
use of proper means which cannot be restricted or abolished without an amendment of the constitution. Every act of Congress,
therefore, which attempts by grants of monopolies, or sale of exclusive privileges for a limited time, or a time without limit, to r e r
strict or extinguish its own discretion in the choice of means to
execute its delegated powers, is equivalent to a legislative amendment of the constitution, and palpably unconstitutional.
This act authorizes and encourages transfers of its stock to
foreigners, and grants them an exemption from all state and national taxation. So far from being "necessary
and proper" that
the bank should possess the power, to make it a safe and efficient
agent of the Government in iis fiscal operations, it is calculated to
convert the Bank of'the United States into a foreign bank, to impoverish our people in time of peace, to disseminate a foreign influence through every section of the republic—and in war, e n danger our independence.
The several states reserved the power at the formation of the
constitution, to regulate and control titles and transfers of real property, and most, if not all of them, have laws disqualifying aliens
from acquiring or holding lands within* their limits. But this act,
in disregard of the undoubted right of the States to prescribe such
disqualifications, gives to aliens, stockholders in this Bank, an interest and title, as members of the corporation, to all the real property it may acquire within any of the States of this Union. This
' privilege granted to aliens is not " necessary," to enable the Bank
to perform its public duties, nor in any sense "proper,"
it is vitally subversive of the rights of the States.
The government of the United States have no constitutional
power to purchase lands within the States, except « for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful
buildings," and even for these objects only « by the consent of
the legislature of the State in which the same slAll b e . " By making themselves stockholders in the Bank, and granting to the corporation the power to purchase lands for other purposes, they assume a power not granted in the constitution, and grant to others
what they do not themselves possess. It is not necessary to the
receiving, safe keeping, or transmission of the funds of the government, that the Bank should possess this power, and it is not proper that Congress should thus enlarge the powers delegated to them
in the constitution.
T h e old Bank of the United States possessed a capital of only
eleven millions of dollars, which was found fully sufficient to enable it, with despatch and safety, to perform all the functions required of it by the government. The capital of the present Bank
is thirty-five millions of dollars—at least twenty-four more than
experience has proved to be necessary to enable a bank to perform

its public functions. The public debt which existed during the
period of the old Bank, and on the establishment of the new,
has been nearly paid off, and our revenue will soon be reduced.
This increase of capital is, therefore, not for public, but for private purposes.
The government is the only "proper" judge where its agents
should reside and keep their offices, because it best knows where
their presence will be "necessary."
It cannot, therefore, be
'necessary"* or 'proper' to authorize the Bank to locate branches
where it pleases, to perform the public service, without consulting
the government, and contrary to its will. The principle laid down
by the Supreme Court concedes, that Congress cannot establish a
bank for purposes of private speculation and gain, but only as a
means of executing the delegated powers of the general government. By the same principle, a branch bank cannot constitutionally be established for other than public purposes. The power
which this act gives to establish two branches in any State without the injunction or request of the government, and for other than
public purposes, is not « necessary' to the due execution of the
powers delegated to Congress.
The bonus which is exacted from the Bank is a confession upon
the face of the act, that the powers granted by it are greater than
to its character of a fiscal agent. The governa r e 'necessary'
ment does not tax its officers and agents for the privilege of serving it. The bonus of a million and a half, required by the original charter, and that of three millions proposed by this act, are not
exacted for the privilege of giving " the necessary facilities for
transferring the public funds from place to place, within the
United States, or the territories thereof, and for distributing the
same in payment of the public creditors, without charging commission or claiming allowance on account of the difference of exchange" as required by the act of incorporation, but for something
more beneficial to the Stockholders. The original act declares,
that it (the bonus) is granted " i n consideration of the exclusive
privileges and benefits conferred by this act upon the said B a n k , "
and the act before me declares it to be " i n consideration of the
exclusive benefits and privileges continued by this act to the said
corporation for fifteen years as aforesaid." It is, therefore, for
"exclusive privileges and benefits" conferred for their own use
and emolument, and not for the advantage of the government, that
a bonus is exacted. These surplus powers, for which the Bank is
required to pay, cannot surely be " necessary7' to make it the fiscal
agent of the Treasury. If they were, the exaction of a bonus for
them would not be
It is maintained by some- that the Bank is a means of executing
the constitutional power " t o coin money and regulate the value
thereof." Congress have established a mint to coin money, and
passed laws to regulate the value thereof. The money so coined
with its value so regulated, and such foreign coins as Congress
may adopt, are the only currency known to the Constitution. But

if they have other power to regulate the currency, it was conferred to be exercised by themselves, and not to be transferred
to a corporation. If the Bank be established for that purpose, with
a charter unalterable, without its consent, Congress have parted
with their power for a term of years, during which the Constitution is a dead letter. It is neither necessary nor proper to transfer its Legislative powers to such a Bank, and therefore unconstitutional.
By this silence, considered in connexion with the decision of the
Supreme Court in the case of McCulloch against the State of Maryland, this act takes from the States the power to tax a portion of
the banking business carried on within their limits, in subversion
of one of the strongest barriers which secured them against federal
encroachment. Banking, like farming, manufacturing, or any other
occupation or profession, is a business, the right to follow which
is not originally derived from the laws. E v e r y citizen, and every
company of citizens, in all of our States, possessed the right until
the State Legislatures deemed it good policy to prohibit private
banking by law. If the prohibitory State laws were now repealed
every citizen would again possess the right. The State Banks are
a qualified restoration of the right which has been taken away by
the laws against Banking, guarded by such provisions and limitations as in the opinion of the State Legislatures, the public interest
requires. These corporations, unless there be an exemption in
their charter, are, like private bankers and banking companies,
subject to state taxation. The manner in which those taxes shall
be laid, depends wholly on legislative discretion. It may be upon
the Bank, upon the stock, upon the profits, or in any other mode
which.the sovereign power shall will.
Upon the formation of the Constitution, the States guarded their
taxing power with peculiar jealousy. They surrendered it only
as it regards imports and exports. In relation to every other object within their jurisdiction, whether persons, property, business
or profession, it was secured in as ample a manner as it was before"
possessed. All persons, though United States officers, are liable to
a poll tax by the States within which they reside; the lands of the
United States are liable to the usual land tax, except in the new
States, from whom agreements that they will not tax unsold lands
are exacted when they are admitted into the Union: horses,
wagons, any beasts or vehicles, tools or property, belonging to
private citizens, though employed in the service of the United
States, are subject to state taxation. Every private business,
whether carried on by an officer of the general government or not,
whether it be mixed with public concerns or not, even if it be carried on by the government of the United States itself, separately
or in partnership, falls within the scope of the taxing power of the
State. ^Nothing comes m o r e fuUy w jthin it than Banks and the
business of banking, by whomsoever instituted and carried on.
Over this whole subject-matter, it is-just as absolute, unlimited and
uncontrollable, as if the Constitution had never been adopted, be-

cause in the formation of that instrument, it was reserved without
The principle is conceded, that the States cannot rightfully tax
the operations of the general government. They cannot tax the
money of the government deposited in the State Banks, nor the
agency of those banks in remitting it; but will any man maintain
that their mere selection to perform this public service for the
general government would exempt the State Banks and their ordinary business from State taxation. Had the United States, instead
of establishing a Bank at Philadelphia, employed a private Banker
to keep and transmit their funds, would it have deprived Pennsylvania of the right to tax his Bank and his usual Banking operations! It will not be pretended. Upon what principle then, are
the banking establishments of the Bank of the United States and
their usual banking operations to be exempted from taxation. It
as not their public agency or the deposits of the government which
the States claim a right to tax, but their banks and their banking
powers, instituted and exercised within State jurisdiction for their
private emolument—those powers and privileges for which they
pay a bonus and which the states tax in their own Banks. The
exercise of these powers within a State, no matter by whom, or under what authority, whether by private citizens in their original
right, by corporate bodies created by the States, by foreigners or
the agents of foreign governments, located within their limits
forms a legitimate object of State taxation. From this, and like
sources, from the persons, property, and business, that are found
residing, located or carried on under their jurisdiction, must the
States since the surrender of the right to raise a revenue from imports and exports, draw all the money necessary for the support
of their governments and the maintenance of their independence.
There is no more appropriate subject of taxation than banks, banking and bank stocks, and none to which the States ought more
pertinaciously to cling.
It cannot be necessary to the character of the bank, as a fiscal
agent of the government, that its private business should be exempted from that taxation to which all the State banks are liable;
nor can I conceive it "proper"
that the substantive and most essential powers reserved by the States shall be thus attacked and
annihilated as a means of executing the powers delegated to the
general government. It may be safely assumed that none of those
eages who had an agency in forming or adopting our constitution
ever imagined that any portion of the taxing power of the States,
not prohibited to them nor delegated to Congress, was to be swept
away and annihilated as a means of executing certain powers delegated to Congress.
If our power over means is so absolute that the Supreme Court
will not call in question the constitutionality of an act of Congress,
the subject of which is " n o t prohibited, and is really calculated to
effect any of the objects entrusted to the Government," although,
as in the case before me ? it takes away powers expressly granted

to Congress, and rights scrupulous!}' reserved to the States, it becomes us to proceed in our legislation with the utmost caution.
Though not directly, our own powers and the rights of the States
may be indirectly legislated away in the use of means to execute
substantive powers. We may not enact that Congress shall not
have the power of exclusive legislation orer the District of Columbia, but we may pledge the faith of the United States that, as a
means of executing other powers, it shall not be exercised for
twenty years or forever. We may not pass an act prohibiting
the States to tax the hanking business carried on within their
limits, but we may, as a means of executing our powers over other
objects, place that business in the hands of our agents, and then
declare it exempt from State taxation in their hands. Thus may
our own powers and the rights of the States, which we cannot directly curtail or invade, be frittered away and extinguished in the
use of means employed by us to execute other powers. That a
Bank of the United States, competent to all the duties which maybe required by the Government, might be so organized as not to
infringe on our own delegated powers, or the reserved rights of the
States, I do not entertain a doubt. Had the Executive been called
upon to furnish the project of such an institution, the duty would
have been cheerfully performed. In the absence of such a call, it
was obviously proper that he should confine himself to pointing
out those prominent features in the act presented, which, in his
opinion r make it incompatible with the Constitution and sound
policy. A general discussion will now take place, eliciting new
light and settling important principles; and a new Congress, elected
in the midst of such discussion, and furnishing an equal representation of the people, according to the last census, will bear to the
Capitol the verdict of public opinion, and I doubt not bring this
important question to a satisfactory result.
Under such circumstances, the Bank comes forward and asks a
renewal of its charter for a term of fifteen years, upon conditions
which not only operate as a gratuity to the stockholders of many
millions of dollars, but will sanction any abuses, and legalize anv
Suspicions are entertained and charges are made of gross abuse
and violation of its charter. An investigation unwillingly conceded, and so restricted in time as necessarily to make it incomplete and unsatisfactory, discloses enough to excite suspicion and
In the practices of the principal Bank partially unveiled, in the
absence of important witnesses, and innumerous charges, confidently made, and as yet wholly uninvestigated, there was enough
to induce a majority of the committee of investigation, a committee which was selected from the most able and honourable
members of the House of Representatives, to recommend a suspension of further action upon the bill, and a prosecution of the
enquiry. As the charter had yet four years to run, and as a
renewal now was not necessary to the successful prosecution of its

business, it was to have been expected that the Bank itself, conscious of its purity and proud of its character, would have withdrawn its application for the present, and demanded the severest
scrutiny into all its transactions. In their declining to do so there
seems to be an additional reason why the functionaries of the
government should proceed with less haste and more caution in
the renewal of their monopoly.
The Bank is professedly established as an agent of the Executive branches of the Government, and its constitutionality is maintained on that ground. Neither upon the propriety of present
action nor upon the provisions of this act was the Executive consulted. It has had no opportunity to say that it neither needs nor
wants an agent clothed with such powers and favoured by such
exemptions- There is nothing in its legitimate functions which
make it necessary or proper. Whatever interest or influence,
whether public or private, has given birth to this act, it cannot be
found either in the wishes or necessities of the Executive Department, by which present action is deemed premature, and the
powers conferred upon its agent not only unnecessary, but dangerous to the government and country.
It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend
,the acts of government to their selfish purposes! Distinctions in f
society will always exist under every just government. Equality
of talents, of education, or of wealth, cannot be produced by
human institutions. In^the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven,
and the fruits of superfor industry, economy and virtue, every
man is equally entitled to protection by law. But when the laws
undertake to add to these natural and just advantages, artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities and exclusive privileges, to
make the rich richer, and the potent more powerful, the humble
members of society, the farmers, mechanics, and labourers, who
have neither the time nor the means of securing like favours to
themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their
There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist
only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection,
and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favours alike on the high
and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified
blessing, in the act before me, there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles. Nor is our government to be maintained, or our Union preserved by invasions of
the rights and powers of the several States. In thus attempting to make our general government strong, we make it weak. Its
true strength consists in leaving individuals and States, as much as
possible, to themselves—in making itself felt, not in its power but
in its beneficence, not in its control but in its protection, not in '
binding the States more closely to the centre, but leaving each to
move unobstructed in its proper orbit.
Experience should teach us wisdom. Most of the difficulties
our Government now encounters, and most of the dangers which

imp'end over our Union, have sprung from an abandonment of t h e
legitimate objects of Government by our national legislation, and
the adoption of such principles as are embodied in this act. M a n y
of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and
equal benefits; but have besought us to make them richer by act
of Congress. By attempting to gratify their desires, we have in
the results of our legislation, arrayed section against section,
interest against interest, and man against man, in a fearful common
tion which threatens to shake the foundations of our Union. I t is
time to pause in our career, to review our principles, and if possible, revive that devoted patriotism and spirit of compromise, which
distinguish the sages of the revolution, and the fathers of OJ?
Union. If we cannot at once, injustice to interests vested under
improvident legislation, make our government what it ought;to
be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of m o w
polies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our G o
vernment, to the advancement of the few, at the expense of,the
many, and in favour of compromise and gradual reform in o u r
code of laws and system of political economy.
I have now done my duty to my country. If sustained by r;,fellow-citizens, I shall be grateful and happy; if not, I shall fiu
in the motives which impel me, ample grounds for contentmertl
and peace. In the difficulties which surround us, and the d a n g c r i
which threaten our institutions, there is cause for neither dismay
nor alarm. For relief and deliverance, let us firmly rely on thai
kind Providence, which I am sure, watches with peculiar car*
over the destinies of our republic, and on the intelligence and
wisdom of our countrymen.—Through His abundant goodness am'
their patriotic devotion, our liberty and Union will be preserved*
WASHINGTON, J u l y 10, 1832.

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