Estimate of the probable product of the funds proposed for funding the debt, and providing for the current service of the United States, including the present duties on imports and tonnage.

Probable product of the duties on imports and tonnage,
according to the acts of the last session
Including the State of North Carolina, this estimate
may be said to correspond with the statement
made by the Committee of Ways and Means,
during the last session; which statement the Se-
cretary is inclined to think is as near the truth
as can be now obtained.

In the preceding estimate are comprehended wines, distilled spirits, teas and coffee, amounting to about

Which, being deducted, leaves From which, deducting five per cent. for expense of collection

100,000 do. 1,600,000 do.

- $1,800,000


1,000,000 gallons of wine,
4,000,000 gallons of distilled spirits,
700,000 pounds Bohea tea,
800,000 do. Souchong and other

black teas

Leaves nett product


green tea, average


at 20 cents,
at 25 cents,

at 5 cents,

Made in the United States.

3,500,000 gallons distilled spirits, from foreign materials, at 11 cents

3,000,000 gallons distilled from materials of the United States, at 9 cents


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Deduct for drawbacks and expense of collection, 15 per cent.










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December 13th, 1790.

In obedience to the order of the House of Representatives, of the ninth day of August last, requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare and report, on this day, such further provision as may, in his opinion, be necessary for establishing the Public Credit; the said Secretary further


That from a conviction (as suggested in his report No. 1, herewith presented) that a National Bank is an institution of primary importance to the prosperous administration of the Finances, and would be of the greatest utility in the operations connected with the support of the Public Credit, his attention has been drawn to devising the plan of such an institution, upon a scale which will entitle it to the confidence, and be likely to render it equal to the exigencies, of the public.

Previously to entering upon the detail of this plan, he entreats the indulgence of the House, towards some preliminary reflections naturally arising out of the subject, which he hopes will be deemed neither useless nor out of place. Public opinion being the ultimate arbiter of every measure of government, it can scarcely appear improper, in deference to that, to accompany the origination of any new proposition with explanations, which the superior information of those to whom it is immediately addressed, would render superfluous.

It is a fact, well understood, that public banks have found admission and patronage among the principal and most enlightened commercial nations. They have successively obtained in Italy, Germany, Holland, England and France, as well as in the United States. And it is a circumstance which cannot but have considerable weight, in a candid estimate of their tendency, that, after an experience of centuries, there exists not a question about their utility in the countries in which they have been so long established. Theogists and men of business unite in the acknowledgment of it.

Trade and industry, wherever they have been tried, have been indebted to them for important aid. And government has been repeatedly under the greatest obligations to them in dangerous and distressing emergencies. That of the United States, as well in some of the most critical conjunctures of the late war, as since the peace, has received assistance from those established among us, with which it could not have dispensed.

With this twofold evidence before us, it might be expected that there would be a perfect union of opinions in their favor. Yet doubts have been entertained; jealousies and prejudices have circulated; and though the experiment is every day dissipating them, within the spheres in which effects are best known; yet there are still persons by whom they have not been entirely renounced. To give a full and accurate view of the subject, would be to

make a treatise of a report; but there are certain aspects in which it may be oursorily exhibited, which may perhaps conduce to a just impression of its merits. These will involve a comparison of the advantages, with the disadvantages, real or supposed, of such institutions.

The following are among the principal advantages of a Bank:

First. The augmentation of the active or productive capital of a country. Gold and silver, where they are employed merely as the instruments of exchange and alienation, have been not improperly denominated dead stock; but when deposited in banks, to become the basis of a paper circulation, which takes their character and place, as the signs or representatives of value, they then acquire life, or, in other words, an active and productive quality. This idea, which appears rather subtile and abstract, in a general form, may be made obvious and palpable, by entering into a few particulars. It is evident, for instance, that the money which a merchant keeps in his chest, waiting for a favorable opportunity to employ it, produces nothing till that opportunity arrives. But if, instead of locking it up in this manner, he either deposites it in a bank, or invests it in the stock of a bank, it yiel a profit during the interval, in which he partakes, or not, according to the choice he may have made of being a depositor or a proprietor; and when any advantageous speculation offers, in order to be able to embrace it, he has only to withdraw his money, if a depositor, or if a proprietor, to obtain a loan from the bank, or to dispose of his stock; an alternative seldom or never attended with difficulty, when the affairs of the institution are in a prosperous train. His money thus deposited or invested, is a fund upon which himself and others can borrow to a much larger amount. It is a well established fact, that banks in good credit can circulate a far greater sum than the actual quantum of their capital in gold and silver. The extent of the possible excess seems indeterminate; though it has been conjecturally stated at the proportions of two and three to one. This faculty is produced in various ways. First-A great proportion of the notes which are issued and pass current as cash, are indefinitely suspended in circulation, from the confidence which each holder has, that he can at any moment turn them into gold and silver. Secondly-Every loan which a bank makes, is, in its first shape, a credit given to the borrower on its books, the amount of which it stands ready to pay, either in its own notes, or in gold or silver, at his option. But, in a great number of cases, no actual payment is made in either. The borrower frequently, by a cheek or order, transfers his credit to some other person, to whom he has a payment to make; who, in his turn, is as often content with a similar credit, because he is satisfied that he can, whenever he pleases, either convert it into cash, or pass it to some other hand, as an equivalent for it. And in this manner the credit keeps circulating, performing in every stage the office of money, till it is extinguished by a discount with some person who has a payment to make to the bank, to an equal or greater amount. Thus large sums are lent and paid, frequently through a variety of hands, without the intervention of a single piece of coin. Thirdly-There is always a large quantity of gold and silver in the repositories of the bank, besides its own stock, which is placed there with a view partly to its safe keeping, and partly to the accommodation of an institution which is itself a source of general accommodation. These deposites are of immense consequence in the operations of a bank. Though liable to be re-drawn at any moment, experience proves, that the money so much oftener changes proprietors than place, and that what is drawn out is

generally so speedily replaced, as to authorize the counting upon the sums deposited, as an effective fund; which, concurring with the stock of the bank, enables it to extend its loans, and to answer all the demands for coin, whether in consequence of those loans, or arising from the occasional return of its notes.

These different circumstances explain the manner in which the ability of a bank to circulate a greater sum than its actual capital in coin is acquired. This, however, must be gradual, and must be preceded by a firm establishment of confidence; a confidence which may be bestowed on the most rational grounds, since the excess in question will always be bottomed on good security of one kind or another. This, every well conducted bank carefully requires, before it will consent to advance either its money or its credit; and where there is an auxiliary capital, (as will be the case in the plan hereafter submitted,) which, together with the capital in coin, define the boundary that shall not be exceeded by the engagements of the bank, the security may, consistently with all the maxims of a reasonable circumspection, be regarded as complete.

The same circumstances illustrate the truth of the position, that it is one of the properties of banks to increase the active capital of a country. This, in other words, is the sum of them-the money of one individual, while he is waiting for an opportunity to employ it, by being either deposited in the bank for safe keeping, or invested in its stock, is in a condition to administer to the wants of others, without being put out of his own reach when occasion presents. This yields an extra profit, arising from what is paid for the use of his money by others, when he could not himself make use of it, and keeps the money itself in a state of incessant activity. In the almost infinite vicissitudes and competitions of mercantile enterprise, there never can be dangor of an intermission of demand, or that the money will remain for a moment idle in the vaults of the bank. This additional employment given to money, and the faculty of a bank to lend and circulate a greater sum than the amount of its stock in coin, are, to all the purposes of trade and industry, an absolute increase of capital. Purchases and undertakings, in general, can be carried on by any given sum of bank paper or credit, as effectually as by an equal sum of gold and silver. And thus, by contributing to enlarge the mass of industrious and commercial enterprise, banks become nurseries of national wealth; a consequence as satisfactorily verified by experience, as it is clearly deducible in theory.

Secondly. Greater facility to the government, in obtaining pecuniary aids, especially in sudden emergencies. This is another, and an undisputed advantage of public banks: one which, as already remarked, has been realized in signal instances among ourselves. The reason is obvious: the capitals of a great number of individuals are, by this operation, collected to a point, and placed under one direction. The mass formed by this union, is, in a certain sense, magnified by the credit attached to it; and while this mass is always ready, and can at once be put in motion, in aid of the government, the interest of the bank to afford that aid, independent of regard to the public safety and welfare, is a sure pledge for its disposition to go as far in its compliances as can in prudence be desired. There is, in the nature of things, as will be more particularly noticed in another place, an intimate connexion of interest between the government and the bank of a nation.

Thirdly. The facilitating of the payment of taxes. This advantage is produced in two ways. Those who are in a situation to have access to the

bank, can have the assistance of loans, to answer, with punctuality, the public calls upon them. This accommodation has been sensibly felt in the payment of the duties heretofore laid by those who reside where establishments of this nature exist. This, however, though an extensive, is not an universal benefit. The other way in which the effect here contemplated is produced, and in which the benefit is general, is the increasing of the quantity of circulating medium, and the quickening of circulation. The manner in which the first happens, has already been traced. The last may require some illustration. When payments are to be made between different places, having an intercourse of business with each other, if there happen to be no private bills at market, and there are no bank notes which have a currency in both, the consequence is that coin must be remitted. This is attended with trouble, delay, expense, and risk. If, on the contrary, there are bank notes current in both places, the transmission of these by the post, or any other speedy or convenient conveyance, answers the purpose; and these again, in the alternations of demand, are frequently returned very soon after to the place from whence they were first sent: whence the transportation and re-transportation of the metals are obviated, and a more convenient and. more expeditious medium of payment is substituted. Nor is this all-the metals, instead of being suspended from their usual functions during this process of vibration from place to place, continue in activity, and administer still to the ordinary circulation, which, of course, is prevented from suffering either diminution or stagnation. These circumstances are additional causes of what, in a practical sense, or to the purposes of business, may be called greater plenty of money. And it is evident, that whatever enhances the quantity of circulating money, adds to the ease with which every industrious member of the community may acquire that portion of it of which he stands in need, and enables him the better to pay his taxes, as well as to supply his other wants. Even where the circulation of the bank paper is not general, it must still have the same effect, though in a less degree. For, whatever furnishes additional supplies to the channels of circulation, in one quarter, naturally contributes to keep the streams fuller elsewhere. This last view of the subject, serves both to illustrate the position that banks tend to facilitate the payment of taxes, and to exemplify their utility to business of every kind in which money is an agent.

It would be to intrude too much on the patience of the House, to prolong the details of the advantages of banks; especially as all those which might still be particularized, are readily to be inferred as consequences from those which have been enumerated. Their disadvantages, real or supposed, are now to be reviewed. The most serious of the charges which have been brought against them, are,

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That they serve to increase usury;

That they tend to prevent other kinds of lending;

4 That they furnish temptations to overtrading;

That they afford aid to ignorant adventurers, who disturb the natural and beneficial course of trade;

That they give to bankrupt and fraudulent traders, a fictitious credit,. which enables them to maintain false appearances, and to extend their impositions; and lastly,

That they have a tendency to banish gold and silver from the country." - There is great reason to believe, that on a close and candid survey, it will be discovered, that these charges are either without foundation, or that, as

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