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1831, as shown in a statement to Congress, were signing men to secure that control in their own about $3,455,598; of this there accrued in the hands by monopolising the remaining stock nine western States about $1,640,048, in the There is danger that a president and directors four southern States about $352,507, and in the would then be able to elect themselves from middle and eastern Stales, about $1,463,041 year to year, and without responsibility or conAs little stock is held in the west, it is obvious trol, manage the whole concerns of the bank that the debt of the people in that section to the during the existence of its charter. It is easy bank is principally a debt to the eastern and fo. to conceive that great evils to our country and reign stockholders; that the interest they pay up its institutions might Auw from such a concenon it, is carried into the eastern Siates and into Eu tration of power in the hands of a few men irre. rope; and that it is a burden upon their industry, sponsible to the people. and a drain of their currency, which no country Is there no danger to our liberty and indecan bear without inconvenience, and occasional pendence in a bank that, in its nature, has so distress. To meet this burden, and equalize the little to bind it to our country? The president cxchange operations of the bank, the amount of the bank has told us, that most of the State of specie drawn from those States, through its banks exist by its forbearance. Should its inbranches, within the last two years, as shown by fluence become concentred, as it may under ilts official reports, was about $6,000,000. More the operation of such an act as this in the hands than half a million of this amount does not stop of a self-elected directory, whose interests are in the eastern States, but passes on to Europe, identified with those of the foreign stockholder, to pay the dividends to the foreign stockholders. will there not be cause to tremble for the puriIn the principle of taxation recognized by this ty of our elecfions in peace, and for the inde. act, the western States find no adequate com-pendence of our country in war! Their powe pensation for this perpetual burden on their er would be great whenever they inight choosindustry, and drain upon their currency. The to exert it; but if this monopoly were regularly branch bank at Mobile made, last year, $95, 140; renewed every fifteen or twenty years, on terms yet, under the provisions of this act, the State proposed by themselves, they might seldom in of Alabama can raise no revenue from these pro. peace put forth their strength to influence elecfitable operations, because not a share of the tions or control the affairs of the nation. But stock is held by any of her citizens. Mississip- if any private citizen or public functionary pi and Missouri are in the same condition in re- should interpose to curtail its powers, or prelation to the branches at Natches and St. Louis; vent a renewal of its privileges, it cannot be and such, in a greater or less degree, is the con- doubted that be would be made to feel its indition of every western State. The tendency Auence. of the plan of taxation which this act proposes,
Should the stock of the bank principally pass will be to place the whole United States in the into the hands of the subjects of a foreign coun. same relation to foreign countries which the try, and we should unfortunately become in. Western States bear to the eastern. When, by volved in a war with that country, what would a tax on resident stockholders, the stock of this be our condition of the course which would bank is made worth ten or fifteen per cent more be pursued by a bank almost wholly owned by to foreigners than to residents, most of it will the subjects of a foreign power, and managed inevitably leave the country.
by those whose interests, if not affections, Thus will this provision, in its practical ef- would run in the same direction, there can be fect, deprive the eastern as well as the south. no doubt. All its operations within would be ern and western States, of the means of raising in aid of the hostile fleets and armies without: a revenue from the extension of business and controlling our currency, receiving our public the great profits of this institution. It will make moneys, and bolding thousands of our citizens the American people debtors to aliens in near- in dependence, it would be more formidable ly the whole amount due to this bank, and send and dangerous than the naval and military pow. across the Atlantic from two to five millions of er of the enemy. specie every year, to pay the bank dividends. If we must have a bank with private stock.
In another of its bearings this provision is bolders, every consideration of sound policy, fraught with danger. of the twenty-five di- and every impulse of American feeling, admorectors of this bank, five are chosen by the Go- nishes that it should be purely American. Its vernment, and tweniy by the citizen stockhold. stockholders should be composed exclusively ers. From all voice in these elections the fo- of our own citizens, who at least ought to be reign stockholders are excluded by the char. friendly to our government, and willing to supter. In proportion, therefore, as the stock is port it in times of difficulty and danger. So transferred to foreign holders, the extent of abundant is domestic capital, that competition suffrage in the choice of directors is curtailed in subscribing for the stock of local banks has Already is almost a third of the stock in foreign recently led almost to riots. To a bank excluhands, ani not represented in elections. It is sively of American stockholders, possessing the constantly passing out of the country, and this powers and privileges granted by this act, sub. act will accelerate its departure. The entire scriptions for two hundred millions of dollars control of the institution would necessarily fall could be readily obtained. Instead of sending into the hands of a few citizen stockholders, abroad the stock of the bank, in which the goan: the ease with which the object would be vernment must deposite its funds, and on which accomplished, would be a temptation to de-lit must rely to sustain its credit in times of
emergency, it would rather seem to be expe-" to make all laws which shall be necessary and dient to prohibit its sale to aliens, under penal proper for carrying those powers into execu. ty of absolute forfeiture.
tion.” Having satisfied themselves, that the word It is maintained by the advocates of the bank, "' necessary,” in the constitution, means need. that its constitutionality, in all its features, ful" as requisite," " essential," * conducive 10," ought to be considered as settled by prece and that "a bank” is a convenient, a useful, dent, and by the decision of the Supreme and essential instrument in the prosecution of Court. To this conclusion I cannot assent. the Government's "fiscal operations," they con. Mere precedent is a dangerous source of autho-clude that, to "use one must be within the dise rity, and should not be regarded as deciding cretion of Congress;" and, that, "the act to questions of constitutional power, except incorporate the Bank of the United States, is a where the acquiescence of the people and the law made in pursuance of the constitution." States can be considered as well-settled. So "But,” say they, " where the law is not prohib. far from this being the case on this subject, anited, and is really calculated to effect any of the argument against the bank might be based on objects entrusted to the Government, to undertake precedent. One Congress, in 1791, decided in here to inquire into the degree of its necessity, favor of a bank; another, in 1811, decided a. would be to pass the line which circumscribes the gainst it. One Congress, in 1815, decided judicial department, und to tread on legislative against a bank; another, in 1816, decided in its ground." favor. Prior to the present Congress, there The principle, here affirmed, is, that the de' fore, the precedents drawn from that source gree of its necessity," involving all the details were equal. If we resort to the States, the of a banking institution, is a question exclusively expressions of legislative, judicial, and execu- for legi-lative consideration. A bank is constitu. tive opinions against the bank have been, pro- tional; but it is the province of the legislature bably, to thuse in its favor, as four to one.- to determine whether this or that particular There is nothing in precedent, therefore, power, privilege, or exemption, is"
"pecessary "which, if its authority were admitted, ought to and proper" to enable the bank to discharge its weigh in favor of the act before me.
duties to the Government, and from their deIf the opinion of the Supreme Court covered cision there is no appeal to the courts of justice. the whole ground of this act, it ought not to Under the decision of the Supreme Court, control the co-ordinate authorities of this go therefore, it is the exclusive province of Convernment. The Congress, the Executive, and gress and the President to decide, whether the the Court, must each for itself be guided by its particular features of this act are a necessary own opinion of the Constitution. Each public and proper," in order to enable the bank to officer who takes an oath to support the Consti- (perform, conveniently and efficiently, the tution, swears that he will support it as he un- public duties assigned to it as a fiscal agent, and, derstands it, and not as it is understood by therefore, constiiucional, or unnecessary and others. It is as much the duty of the House of improper, and, therefore, unconstitutional. Representatives, of the Senate, and of the Pre. Wiihout commenting on the general princisident, to decide upon the constitutionality of ple affirmed by the Supreme Court, let us exany bill or resolution which may be presented amine the details of this act, in accordance with to them for passage or approval, as it is of the the rule of legislative action, which they have Supreme Judges, when it may be brought be. laid down. It will be found, that many of the fore them for judicial decision. The opinion powers and privileges conferred on it, cannot of the judges has no more authority over Con- be supposed necessary for the purpose for gress than the opinion of Congress has over the which it is proposed to be created, and are not, judges; and on that point, the President is in- therefore, means necessary to attain the end in dependent of both. The authority of the Su: view, and consequently, not justified by the preme Court must not, therefore, be permitted constitution. to control the Congress or the Executive, when The original act of incorporation, section 21, acting in their legislative capacities, but to have enacts, " that no other bank shall be establish only such influence as the force of their rea. ed by any future law of the United States, du.
ring the continuance of the corporation, hereBut in the case relied upon, the Supreme by created, for which the faith of the United Court have not decided that all the features of states is hereby pledged: Pr wided, Congress this corporation are compatible with the con- may renew existing charter, for banks within stitution. It is true, that the court have the District of Columbia, not increasing the said, that the law incorporating the bank, is a capital thereof, and may, alsn, establish any constitutional exercise of power by Congress. other bank or banks in said District, with capi. But taking into view the whole opinion of the tals not exceeding, in the whole, six millions of court, and the reasoning by wbich they have dollars, if they shall deem it expedient." This come to that conclusisn, I understand them to provision is continued in force by the act be. have decided that, inasmuch as a bank is an ap. fore me, fifteen years from the 3d of March, propriate means for carrying into effect the 1836. enumerated powers of the General Government, If Congress possesses the power to establish therefore, the law incorporating it is in accor-one bank, they had power to establislı inore dance with that provision of the constitution than one, if, in their opinion, two or more wbich declares that Congress shall have powerbanks had been "necessary" to facilitate the
soning may deserve,
execution of the powers delegated to them in ject which comes within the scope of Congres-
It cannot be This act authorises and encourages transfers "necessary" OR "proper" for Congress to bar. of its stock to foreigners, and grants them an ter away, or divest themselves of, any of the exemption from all State and national taxation. powers vested in them by the Constitution, to So far from being " necessary and properly that be exercised for the public good. It is not the bank should possess this power, to make it necessary" to the efficiency of the bank, nor is a safe and efficient agent of the Government it "proper" in relation to themselves and their in its fiscal operations, it is calculated 10 consuccessors. They may properly use the dis. vert the Bank of the United States into a fo. cretion vested in them, but they may not limit reign bank, to impoverish our people in time the discretion of their successops. This restric. of peace, to disseminate a foreign influence tion on themselves, and grant of a monopoly to through every section of the republic, and in the bank, is therefore unconstitutional. war to endanger our independence,
In another point of view, this provision is a The several States reserved the power at the palpable attempt to amend the Constitution by formation of the constitution, to regulate and an act of legislation. The Constitution declares control titles and transfers of real property, and that "he Congress shall have power” to exer most, if not all of them, have laws disqualify. cisc exclusive legislation in all cases whatso- ing aliens from acquiring or holding lands with. ever, over the District of Columbia. Its con- in their limits. But this act in disregard of the stitutional power, therefore, to establish banks undoubted right of the States to prescribe such in the District of Columbia, and increase their disqualifications, gives to aliens, stockholders capital at will, is unlimited and uncontrollable in this bank, an interest and title, as members by any other power than that which gave au- of the corporation, to all the real property it thority to the Constitution. Yet this act de. may acquire wishin any of the States of this clares, that Congress shall not increase the ca. Union. This privilege granted to aliens is not pital of existing banks, uor create other banks" necessary" to enable the bank to perform its with capitals exceeding in the whole six mil- public duties, hor in any sense“ proper," belions of dollars. The Constitution declares, cause it is vitally subversive of the rights of the that Congress shall have power to exercise ex- States. clusive legislation over this district “in all cases
The Government of the United States have whatsoever," and this act declares they shall no constitutional power to purchase lands with. not. Which is the supreme law of the land in the States except "for the erection of furts, This provision cannot be "necessary" or "pro- magazines, arsenals, dock yards, and other per" or "constitutional," unless the absurdity needful buildings," and even for these objects be admitted, that whenever it be necessary only by the consent of the legislature of the and proper” in the opinion of Congress, they state in which the same shall be." By making have a right to barter away one portion of the themselves stockholders in the bank, and grani. powers vested in them by ihe Constitution as a ing to the corporation the power to purchase means of executing the rest.
lands for other purposes, they assume a power On two subjects only does the constitution not granted in the constitution, and grant to recognise in Congress the power to grant ex- others what they do not themselves possess. clusive privileges on monopolies. it declares It is not necessary to the receiving, safe keepthat "Congress shall have power to promote ing, or transmission of the funds of the Governthe progress of science and useful arts, by se- ment, ihat the bank should possess this power, curing, for limited times, to authors and in- and it is not proper that Congress should thus ventors, the exclusive right to their respective enlarge the powers delegated to them in the writings and discoveries." Out of this
constitution. delegation of power, have grown our laws of
The old Bank of the United States possess. patents and copy rights. As the constitutioned a capital of only eleven millions of dollars, expressly delegates to Congress the power to which was found fully sufficient to enable it, grant exclusive privileges in these cases, as the with despatch and safety, to perform all the means of executing the substantive power “to functions required of it by the Goverument. promote the progress of science and useful The capital of the present bank is thirty-five arts," it is consistent with the fair rules of cun millions of dollars, at least twenty-four more struction t, conclude, that such a power was than experience has proved to be necessary to not intended to be granted as a means of ac enable a bank to perform its public functions. complisbing any other end. On every other sub. The public debt which existed during the pe.
riod of the old bank and on the establishment to the Constitution. But if they have other of the new has been nearly paid off, and our power to regulate the currency, it was conferrevenue will soon be reduced. This increase red to be exercised by themselves and not to of capital is, therefore, not for public, but for be transferred to a corporation. If the bank private purposes.
be established for that purpose, with a charter The Governinent is the only "proper" judge unalterable without its consent, Congress hare where iis agents should reside and keep their parted with their power for a term of years, dų. offices, because it best knows where their pre-ring which the Constitution is a dead letter. sence will be “necessary.” It cannot, there. It is neither necessary nor proper to transfer its fore, be " necessary" or " proper" to authorize legislative power to such a bank, and therefore the bank to locate branches where it pleases, unconstitntional; to perform the public service, withont consult. By its silence, considered in connexion with ing the Government, and contrary to its will. the decision of the Supreme Court, in the case The principle laid down by the Supreme Court of McCullock against the State of Maryland, concedes That Congress cannot establish a this act takes from the States the power to tax bank for purposes of private speculation and a portion of the banking business carried on gain, but only as a means of executing the de- within their limits, in subversion of one of the legated powers of the General Government. strongest barriers which secured them against By the same principle, a branch bank cannot federal encroachments. Banking, like farm. constitutionally be established for other than ing, manufacturing, or any other occupation or public purposes. The power which this act profession, is a business, the riglit to follow gives to establish two branches in any State, which is not originally derived from the laws. without the injunction or request of the Go- Every citizen, and every company of citizens, vernment, and for other than public purposes, in all of our States, possessed ihe right until the is not necessary to the due execulion of the State Legislatures deemed it good policy to powers delegated to Congress.
prohibit private banking by law. If the proliThe bonus wbich is exacted from the bank, bitory State laws were now repealed, every citiis a confession, upon the face of the act, that zen would again possess the right. The State the powers granted by it are greater than banks are a qualified restoration of the right
* necessary" to its character to a fiscal which has been taken away by the laws against agent. The Government does not tax its offi. banking, guarded by such provisions and Imicers and agents for the privileges of serving it. iations as, in the opinion of the State legisla. The bonus of a million and a half, required by tures, the public interest requires. These corthe original charter, and that of three millions porations, unless there be an exemption in proposed by this act, are not exacted for the their charter, are like private bankers and privilege of giving the necessary facilities for banking companies, subject to State tagation. transferring the public funds from place to the manner in which these tares shall be laid, place, within the United States orthe Terri-depends wholly on legislative discretion. It tories thereof, and for distributing the same may be upon the bank, upon the stuck, upon in payment of the public creditors, without the profits, or in any other mode which the som charging commission or claiming allowance on vereign power shall will. account of the difference of exchange," as re Upon the formatlon of the Constitution, the quired by the act of incorporation; but for States guarded their taxing power with pecu. something more beneficial to the stockholders. liar jealousy. They surrendered it only as it reThe original act declares, that it (the bonus) gards imports and exports. In relation to eveis granted “in consideration of the exclusivé ry other object within their jurisdiction, whe privileges and benefits conferred by this acı ther persons, property, business, or profeso upon the said bank ;" and the act before me sions, it was secured in as ample a manner as it declares it to be “in consideration of the ex was before possessed. All persons, though Uniclusive benefits and privileges continued by ted States officers, are liable to a poll tax by this act to the said corporation, for fifteen years the States within which they reside; the lands as aforesaid."
It is, therefore, for “ exclusive of the United States are liable to the usual land privileges and benefits,” conferred for their tax, except in the new States, from whom own use and emolument, and not for the ad. agreements that they will not tax unsold lands, vantage of the Government, that a bonus is are exacted when they are admitted into the exacted. These surplus powers, for which the Union: horses, wagons, any beasts
, or vehicles, bank is required to pay, cannot be “necessary" tools, or property, belonging to private citi
. to make it the fiscal agent of the Treasury; 11 zens, though employed in the service of the they were, the exaction of a bonus for them United States, are subject 10 State taxation, would not be “proper,"
Every private business, whether carried on by It is maintained by some that the bank is a an officer of the General Government or not, means of executing the constitutional power whether it be mixed with public concerns of " to coin money, and regulate the value there. not, even if it be carried on by the Guvernment of.” Congress have established a mint to coin of the Uuited States itself, seperately or in money, and passed laws to regulate the value partnership, falls within the scope of the tar. thereof, Tne money so coined, with its value ing power of the State. Nothing comes more so regulated, and such foreign coins as Con- fully within it than banks and the business of gress may adopt, are the only currency known banking, by whomsoever instituted and carried
on. Over this whole subject matter, it is just ject of which is not prohibited, and is really as absolute, unlimited, and uncontrolable, as if calculated to effect any of the objects entrusted the Constitution had never been adopied, be to the Government,” alihough, as in the case cause in the formation of that instrument it was before me, it takes away powers expressly reserved without qualification.
granted to Congress, and rights scrupulously The principle is conceled, that the States reserved to the States, it becomes us to prow cannot rightfully tax the operations of the Ge. ceed in our legislation with the utmost caution. nersl Government. They cannot tax the mu. Though not directly, our own powers, and the ney of the government deposited in the State rights of the States, may be indirectly legislated danks, nor the agency of those banks in remit. away in the use of means 10 execute substantive ting it; but will any man maintain that their powers. We may not enact that Congress shall mere selection to perform this public service not have the power of exclusive legislation over for the General Government, would exempt the the District of Columbia, but we may pledge the State banks and their ordinary business from faith of the United States that a means of exe. State taxation? Had the United States, instead cuting other powers it shall not be exercised for of establishing a bank at Philadelphia, employ-twenty years or for ever. We may not pass an ed a private banker to keep and transmit their act prohibiting the States to tax the banking funds, would it have deprived Pennsylvania of business carried on within their limits, but we the right to tax his bank and his usual bank- may, as a means of executing our powers over ing operations? It will not be pretended. Up. other objects, place that business in the hands on what principle, then, are the banking esta of our agents, and then declare it exempt from blishments of the Bank of the United States, State taxation in their hands. Thus may our and their usual banking operations, to be ex- own powers and the righıs of the States, which empted from taxation? it is not their public we cannot directly curtail or invade, be frittered agency, or the deposites of the government, away and extinguished in the use of means em. which the States claim a right to tax, but their ployed by us to execute other powers. That banks and their banking powers, instituted and a Bank of the United States, competent to all exercised within State jurisdiction for their pri. duties which may be required by the Goveruvate emolument—those powers and privileges ment, might be so organized as not to infringe for which they pay a bonus, and which the on our own delegated powers or the reserved States tax in their own banks. The exercise of rights of the States, I do not entertain a doubt, these powers within a Slate, no matter by whom Had the Executive been called upon to furnish or under what authority, whether by private ci. the project of such an institution, duty would tizens in their original right, by corporate bo. have been cheerfully performed. In the abdies created by the States, by foreigners or the sence of such a call, it is obviously proper that agents of foreign governments located within he sdould confine himself to pointing out those their limits, forms a legitimate object of State prominent features in the act presented, which, taxation. From this, and like sources, in his opinion, make it incombatible with the from the persons, prosperiy, and business, that constitution and sound policy. A general disare found residing , locate:', or carried on, un-cussion will not take place, eliciting new light, der their jurisdiction, must The States, since the and settling important principles ; and a new surrender of their right to raise a revenue from Congress, elected in the midst of such discus. imports and exporis, draw all the money neces. sion, and furnishiug an equal representation of sary for the support of their governments, and the people according to The last census, will the maintenance of their independence. ere bear to ihe Capitol the verdict of publc opinis no more appropriate subjeci of taxation than on, and,I doubt not, bring this importent ques banks, banking, and bank-stocks, and none to tion to a satisfactory result. which the States ought more pertinacivusly to
Under such circumstances, the benk comes cling.
forward and asks for a renewal of its charter for I cannot be necessary to the character of the a terın of fifteen years, upon conditions which bank us a fiscal agent of the government, that not only operate as a gratuity to the stockhold. its private business should be exempted from ers of many millions of dollars, but will sanction that taxation to which all the State banks are abuses and legalize any encroachments. liable; nor can I conceive it "proper" that the Suspicions are entertained and charges are substantive and most essential powers reserved made of gross abuses and violation of its charby the States, shall be thus aitacked and anni. ter. An investigation unwillingly conceded, and hilated as a means of executing the powers de- so restricted in time, as necessarily to make it legated to the General Government. It may be incomplete and unsatisfactory, discloses enough safely assumed, that none of those sages who to excite suspicion and aldrm. In the practices had an agency in forming or adoping our Con- of the principal bank, partial y unveiled, in the stitution, ever imagined ihat any portion of the absence of import
: nt witnesses, and in numetaxgin power of thie States, not prohibited 10 rous charges confidently made, and as yet them nur delegated to Congress, was to be wholly uninveetigated, there was enough to swept away and annihilated as a means of exe-induce a majority of the Committtee of Inves culing certain powers delegated 10 Congress. tigation, a committee which was selected from
If our power over means is su absulute, that the inot able and honorable members of the the Supreme Court will not call in question the House of Representatives, to recommend
a sus Constitutionality of an act of Congress, the sub-pension of further action upon the bill, and a