Banks and Banking: Remarks on Banks and Banking and the Skeleton Project for a National Bank - By a Citizen of Boston, 1840


The subject of "Banks and Banking" is one that has for a long period of time deeply engaged the attention of the public.  Again and again has it called forth, and through the aid of the press, spread before the public the most elaborate and highly labored essays, the product of vigilant and thinking minds.  Not only has the present banking system been set down and condemned as being the cause and foundation of all the evil of the times, as having operated to the disturbance and destruction of the great and leading interests of the country, but on the other hand; from time to time, not a few have openly and publicly attempted to defend and justify, in their minutæ, the policy and conduct that has been adopted and pursued by the banks.  If the press has abounded with essays on this important subject, which from its nature is of deep interest to all, how notorious is it that it has, more than any other subject of political economy, furnished a never-ending topic of conversation, of discussion, and dispute, among all the politicians of the day of either party, who make any pretensions to a knowledge of the true interests of the people.

Nothing is more common than the unqualified condemnation of the whole system of banking, as it exists in our country.  Daily and hourly is it declared that the banks constitute the weightiest curse that the people were ever made to bear; that they are at the foundation of all the distress and embarrassment that have been experienced, and that if we could "Down with the Banks," all would be well.  On the other hand, not a few maintain that "Banks are a necessary evil;" that, on the whole, they have been productive of great good, have stimulated and aided industry and enterprize, and that, though their operation is in some respects bad, yet they cannot be dispensed with.  Especially is the importance and high value of a National Bank urged.  Many honestly believe that the failure to re-charter the late Bank of the United States is the true cause of the disastrous times that we have had, and still continue to exist.  Especially are those who had only to ask, and their demands were complied with, loud and strong in their denunciations of the policy which has been pursued in regard to the banks by the government.  This class of men rant, and rave, as if they had a prescriptive right to extraordinary bank accommodations; and are little less vociferous than they probably would be, if their inheritances and possessions were forcibly wrested from them by the strong arm of government.  Little sympathy is this class of men entitled to; for just in proportion to the superior advantages and benefits which they have, by the force of adventitious circumstances, enjoyed beyond the great mass of the community, are they bound to feel grateful for past favors, and to hold their peace for the future.  To them, a Ntional Bank has been highly beneficial; they have grown rich and fat upon it.  But what have been the benefits to the great mass of the community?  How many , in comparison with the whole people, have directly participated in the accommodations of the bank?

That the bank, with all its imperfections, under the partial dispensation of its favors, was, in the aggregate, of immense advantage to the country, I doubt not in the least.  No nation on earth was ever blessed with a better currency, with higher and more perfect facilities for the transaction and accomplishment of its great and extended interests, than for a time was that of the United States.  No nation of so great extent of territory as ours, ever enjoyed a better and more uniform and acceptable currency, than did the American people during the greater part of the existence of the last National Bank.  Still, all was not right.  Abuses and favoritism prevailed.  The institution, good in its original nature, in the hands and under the control and management of interested and frail men, was to some extent perverted, its action turned aside and wrested from what should have been its course, and made, or attempted to be made, the instrument of other and very different offices from those aimed at and intended by its projectors.  It was orginally created for the good of the country.  Rightly administered and conducted, its true ends might have been accomplished - but, not satisfied with the honest pursuit of the legitimate ends of the institution, those who managed and controlled it, in their gross and palpable folly, sought to make it the engine of political party.  It is undeniable, it admits not a doubt, that the time was when the Bank of the United States, under the weak and short-sighted control of party men, was attempted to be made a political engine, to bear most powerfully upon the then pending elections.  That indignant opposition, on the part of the party assailed, which might naturally have been expected from so gross an attempt, sprang up with giant strength, and, armed with a good cause, successfully resisted the arrogant pretensions and movements of those who thus sought to wield and turn to party account and benefit the force and power of an institution, which, from its nature and usefulness, was deeply enshrined in the hearts of the people.  The result was as might have been expected.  the wrong was exposed.  The attempt to perpetuate such an instrument of party failed.  A re-charter of the institution could not be obtained.

The fault lay not in the nature of the bank; but in the perverted use which its partisan friends madly undertook to make of it.  Had those to whom was intrusted the management and control of the bank, confined themselves to the proper and legitimate objects of banking, had only the real and proper objects of the institution been sought, there would have been no difficulty in either renewing the charter of the old institution, or creating and establishing a new one.  The truth is, and it cannot be gainsayed, that the right of banking in the name and in behalf of the United States, is a most invaluable franchise; the property of the whole people of the country; and, in its disposal, it should be treated as such.  Every motive of fairness, of justice, and equity, requires that, all other things being equal, this property should be disposed of in open market to the highest bidders.  No exclusive right, or claim of priority can or ought for a moment to be sustained.

Whenever a charter for a National Bank is granted, a fair and liberal competition should be afforded to the American people.  Had this policy been pursued about the time of the expiration of the charter of the late Bank, not improbably we might still have enjoyed the benefits of the same, or an improved institution.  Most unfortunately for the interests of the country, an entirely opposite policy to that I have described, was adopted and pursued by the men in power who were friendly to a Bank.

Not satisfied with the accomplishment of their object of having a Bank, but imagining that they could seize upon and profitably use for party purposes and ends the strong feelings existing in the community in favor of the continuance of the National Bank, no regard was had to the great and important points of what was just and equitable, and would be satisfactory to the minds of the sober and reflecting portion of the community.  It was most unfortunately overlooked or forgotten, that the opinions and feelings of an intelligent community deserved to be consulted; that a large portion of the people, embracing many of the dominant party in national affairs, including the executive of the nation, were watchful, and jealously watchful, of any measure that could by possibility be made to bear upon and seriously injure their political ascendancy...  True policy on the part of the friends of a national bank should have taught them, that to carry the measure, not any, even the slightest, departure from a just and equitable, and even a popular course, would be silently submitted to. It should have been foreseen that in the disposal of a public franchise, the undisputed property of the whole people, however important the institution itself to the great interests of the country, it was indispensable that justice and equity should be rigidly observed; that however desirable it might be to continue or establish a permanent national bank, no right of pre-emption, no preference of any name or nature, would fairly be set up and sustained for the benefit of any class or portion of the community.

What claim, I ask, had the incumbents of the old bank, those who had enjoyed the monopoly for a period of twenty years, to a new charter, in preference to other citizens?  True, in the main, the old bank had been managed and conducted to the tolerable acceptance of the public.  The bank had operated well; those who managed its affairs had commended themselves to the favorable regards of the public.  But had they done, or could they do, any thing which could establish the least claim to priority?  Could a single argument fairly be brought in support of the claim of preference?  All that could be said was, that the institution, on the whole, had worked well; that it had subserved in a high, or even in an eminent degree, the interests of the people; that is had been conclusively shown that a national bank was important to the country.

But it by no means followed that because a certain association of men had enjoyed and controlled for a long series of years, the monopoly of the franchise in question, that they alone were competent to its management..  Such a position is absurd in the extreme; for it assumes, or supposes, that only a particular association of men are competent to the management and direction of a great national moneyed institution - it is setting up, in fact, that the true policy is to make a national bank perpetual; that only certain men are capable of conduction such an institution.  The old bank, or its stockholders, had, as I have said, no claim to pre-emption.  It is most palpable that they had no claim to a renewal, or an extension of their charter, beyond what a capitalist who had once liberally subscribed to a loan required by the goverment, could have upon a glance at the principle involved in the question must, I think, satisfy every dispassionate mind of the gross absurdity of the claim that was most unfortunately set up, and most signally defeated and put down.

The question was not in reality whether the bank charter should be renewed and extended, but whether a bank should receive the sanction and support of the government.  Well would it have been if the subject had been viewed in its proper light, in accordance with the true interests of the whole people, divested of partisan and interested feelings and objects.  Had this policy been adopted and pursued, we might at this day have been in the enjoyment of a national moneyed institution fraught with almost illimitable benefits and advantages to our country.  As is well known, a bill for the re-charter of the old bank was carried in both branches of Congress, but was vetoed by President Jackson.  What were the features of the bill?  It speaks for itself.  On its face it was provided that the applicants for a re-charter should pay for the franchise the sum of two millions of dollars.  At the same time, it is matter of perfect notoriety that another association of men, embracing many of the active and wealthy citizens of several of our large cities, a body of men in all respects as respectable as to property and standing, and ability to manage a national bank, as the incumbents, or those for whose benefit the re-charter was proposed to be made, stood ready, and had openly proposed by memorial, to take a charter for a bank and pay therefor one million of dollars per annum, or twenty millions of dollars against the two millions proposed to be exacted by the bill re-chartering the incumbents.  The President vetoed the bill.  Among other reasons, he urged the injustice I have stated of disposing public property for the sum of two millions of dollars, for which twenty millions was directly offered.  This solitary objection must in the minds of all just men be deemed sufficient, and itself conclusive.

Most fortunate would it have been for the reputation of the distinguished individual then at the head of hte nation, if he had had the wisdom to have gone no farther in his proclaimed objections to the bill; for more than one of the grounds assumed by him in support of  his oppostion to the measure, are so weak and puerile as to leave no doubt of his gross ignorance of the true interests of the country.  I speak not unadvisedly.  Andrew Jackson, the President of the United States, in the plenitude of his wisdom, in vetoing the bank bill, urged that it was a hardship for the people of the new States to pay interest to those of the old States, on the Atlantic; and, farther, that it was inconsistent with the interests of the American people to suffer foreigners to invest their money in our banking institutions, and participate in the profits of the same!  Why, the veriest tyro in political economy could not fail to see, at a glance, that for the people of a new portion of our country to be able to borrow money in the older parts, at a reasonable rate of interest, must, of necessity, redound to their profit; and that so far from its being a hardship, or an eveil, to have foreigners invest their capital in our country, it could not fail of adding to its wealth, inasmuch as it would increase the ability of our people to develope our resources, besides operating as a bond for the preservation of amicable relations with foreign nations.  It is sickening in the extreme to contemplate the fact, that any man exalted by the free suffrages of his fellow citizens to the highest office in their gift, should exhibit to the world such narrow views and ignorance of our true interests as a people, as were manifested by our late president.

But I pass from these considerations, and proceed to the main objects of my undertaking.  I have said thus much, and entered into details of the history of the efforts made to re-charter the Bank of the United States, because I have thought the subject of vital interest to the people of the Union.  The question whether we shall have a national bank,  whether our fiscal interests can be carried on and properly sustained without such an institution, or whether the wants of the people require that we should have a national bank, is in my mind one of great importance.  Diverse opinions are cherished upon the subject.  One class of men hold, that nothing but the precious metals, silver and gold, should be the representatives of property.  To a certain extent, our constitution of government recognizes this doctrine.  But at the same time, on the other hand, our knowledge and experience go to show that such is the actual state of things, that a pure metallic currency is not practicable; that it is utterly out of the question; for there is not in the whole world coined specie enough even for the transaction of the business of the Atlantic States.  This is demonstrably shown by a recurrence to he official statistics on the subject, of our own country and of the nations of Europe, as compared with the known amount and extent of business to be transacted in the eastern portions of our country.

This being the fact, as it must be admitted to be, what then is to be done?  Is there any prospect, or probability, that such a change in the quantum of specie at our control can or will take place, as would supply the deficiency?  Unhesitatingly we answer this question in the negative; for there exists no means, either on the part of the government or the people, to accomplish the object.  No one believes that the existing deficiency can or will be supplied; all experience is against such a suppostion.  What then shall be done?  What do the wants of the people, the interests of the country demand?

I shall be answered by those who have been the advocates of an exclusive metallic currency, but who on investigation are driven to the abandonment of their favorite postition, that if we must have a partially paper currency that States can and ought to furnish it.  This experiment has already been tried, and most bitterly has experience taught us that such a currency is altogether inadequate to the reasonable wants of the country.  Let any man contrast, our situation as it was at the period of the existence and action of the National Bank with the present, - let him look back upon the stability of the currency, its equalized value throughout our whole territory, and particularly the steadiness and facility with which the great interests of the exchanges of the country were effected; let him, I say, contrast the former with the present state of things, and he will be forced to the conviction that a national moneyed institution is indispensable to the true interests of the country.  Such are the diversified interests, such the extent of the business transactions of our country, that, in my mind, a national moneyed institution is as indispensable to a healthy and sound state of things, as is the vital air we breathe to our physical existence.  There is, and can be, no substitute for it; all the wisdom of man is incompetent to invent a currency which can so well meet our just wants.

And here I come to the consideration of the system of the local State banks.  What are they?  What is their nature and operation, what their merits and abuses, and whence their origin?  And to what extent may they be relied upon as being useful aids in the transaction of the immense business of this great country?  These are serious and most important questions.  Their solution requires great plainness of speech; - the utterance of opinions and decisions at variance with the views of vast numbers of our citizens who have for a long period looked upon our banks as being the foundation of American enterprise.  To a certain extent, they  have been; and, without any doubt, they have for the last half century, been in a considerable degree instrumental in the support of our enterprise, and in the development of the resources of our people, and of the country.  Still, our local banks are not what they ought to be; not what is needed by our people; not such institutions, and not so constituted and managed as best to subserve the interests of the whole people.  Our banks as constituted are, mainly, the partial instruments of the favored few, for the advancement of their private interests, rather than great public blessings, of universal participation.

Prima facie, the first great desideratum in banking, under our institutions of government, inasmuch as  it rests its support upon the grant of exclusive power by the government, a power in all cases professedly conferred for the promotion of the public good, is, that its benefits and blessings should be as equally and extensively diffused as possible, among all the members of the community.  A perfect equality, we know, is not attainable; but the nearer we can approximate to it in the diffusion of the benefits and advantages of banks among all classes and conditions of our citizens, the better are their true and legitimate ends attained.  Banks have not been carried on upon this principle; - and precisely in proportion to the deviations that have been made from it, have they become just objects of murmuring and complaint on the part of the people.  Had the principle been faithfully regarded in the management of banks of the earliest creation in our country, had there been practised any thing like an impartial diffusion of bank favors, in all probability we should not now have cause to complain of the existence of such vast numbers of them.  Had it not been that the favored few who were so fortunate as to attain to the control and direction of the early banks, made them, to a great extent, the instruments of the advancement of their own interests, regardless of the great mass of the community, we should never have witnessed the multiplicity of banks which at present exist.  As it is, banks have sprung up like mushroons - they are numerous as flies in summer.  Wherever we go, in town or country, there is a bank, or many banks; and in our cities and large towns their number, to say the least, vastly exceeds the wants of the community.  And why is it so?  We answer, and without the fear of contradiction, because of the wrong principles upon which many, if not most of the early banks were conducted.  When people perceived that those men who succeeded in obtaining a voice in the direction and control of banks, in all times of extra demand for money, could command it - when it was known and understood that Bank Directors had priority of claim in the dispensation of bank favors, that they invariably were first accommodated, were easy in their moneyed affairs while most others, were suffering; - then it was that others; less fortunate, conceived the idea that it was a very happy thing to participate in the control of a bank; - then it was that keen wits were set to work to balance, in their own case, the advantages which were enjoyed by others.

That was not only natural, but might have been foreseen and avoided.  The object sought for was not of difficult attainment; for what with the plausible argument that exclusive privileges ought not to be granted, backed by the adopted policy of imposing an enormous tax upon the capital of all banks, all applicants, with any thing like tolerable pretensions, could with the utmost facility obtain charters.  The doctrine held has been, that if one association of men had, or might have, a charter, others, as a matter of course, could not be denied; that whether the public good actually required the creation of more banks or not, new applicants could not be denied but with monstrous injustice.  The public good has been invariably put forth as the basis of a claim to a charter.  No matter whether it has been made to appear, or whether it was in fact so or not, that the applicants really possessed capital which they desired to invest for the legitimate objects of banking, - it was but to ask, and almost as a matter of course a charter was granted.  Thus have we gone on, doubling and trebling our banks upon these false and unsound principles, until the public is fairly gorged; until the period has arrived when it is most deeply felt that we are cursed with a currency almost as unstable as the wind.  No man of intelligence can feel satisfied with this state of things.

No man, if he chances in his business to receive any considerable amount of money in our present currency, rests easy until it is applied to the payment of his debts, placed in the strongest of our local banks, or invested by loan or otherwise with good securities; in short, no prudent man feels safe and easy over night with large sums of the money of our local banks - for safety, he wishes it off his hands.  And why has he not reason to?  With our more than a hundred banks in Massachusetts alone, to say nothing of those of other New England States, almost proportionately numerous, together with the bitter experience of the not uncommon stoppage and failure of banks of this description, who can feel safe?  Who feels that with the multifarious bank notes of some hundred banks in his pocket he has that which is actually solid property, that which is equal in value to gold and silver?  I say not these things, I make not these queries for the purpose of destroying the confidence of the public in our currency.  I treat plainly of what I know to be facts, and with a view to a remedy, if it be practicable.  No remedy is likely to be had until the existence of the evil is deeply felt and realized.  It is felt now.  The experience of the last few years has been most appalling; the subject has been brought home to the feelings and pockets of many.  Palpable indeed has been the operation, and widely diffused have been the direct losses of the community by the rottenness of our banking system.  The evil had its origin in the short-sighted policy of the managers and conductiors of our early banks, in the crude and loose opinions of our legislators, who felt that they were not at liberty to decide whether the public good really required the creation of more banks, and in the miserable cupidity and unsound view of public policy which, to avoid a State tax, induced the creation, ad-infinitum, of banks, for the sake of the paltry tax of one per cent on their captials.  A more miserable and ruinous policy was never adopted.  It deserves the severe reprehension of every friend to just legislation and the people.  Certain it is, that though for a time our bank system may not result in wide-spread loss and destruction, yet, the period cannot fail to come when our worst fears will be realized; when there will be a general breaking up of institutions that stand on so frail and slender foundations.  I am aware that these are strong and bold predictions.  But are they not well founded?  Does not the experience of the past justify them?  And, far more, does not the very nature and construction of our banks, taken in connection with the object of their creation, and the mode in which they are conducted, clearly point to such a final result as being highly probable, if not inevitable.

Let us look for a moment at the foundation of construction of the major part of our local banks.  For what have they been got up and established?  Has it been because there existed real solid capital which sought investment?  Because in the villages and sections of country where they have sprung up, there existed accumulations of capital the holders of which were at at loss to know how, profitably, to invest it?  No such state of things has existed.  But, on the contrary, in nineteen out of twenty cases, banks have been got up for the creation of money facilities and capital; for the purpose of making money plenty; of affording to a particular region, or to a particular class of men, facilities for carrying on their business and speculations by borrowing of banks in their immediate neighborhoods.  The object has not been to invest money, but create it.  Hence it has happened that bank charters have been asked for and obtained, where a vast majority of the corporation, instead of being lenders of money, were actually hungry borrowers; ready, the moment the institution was put in operation, to bellow aloud for an undue proportion of accommodation.  There has been, in fact, in many cases, no solid foundation of capital for a bank.  True, the forms of law have been complied with; the requisite amount of specie capital has been paid in at the outset.  But who does not know that but a mere nominal compliance with the terms of the charters has been made?  Who does not know that, in numerous cases, the amount of specie required to constitute the capital of the institution created, has been obtained "by hook and by crook," to be used temporarily, for the object of complying with the terms of the charter, and a day after its exhibit, has been returned to those from whom it was borrowed?  All these items of the history of banks being put in operation, are as familiar as household words.  A slight amount of capital is, in most cases, commanded from widows, or orphans, or those holding money in trust, but very seldom has there been invested, with a view only to investment, any thing like the amount of the fixed capital of the institution.

And then as to the management of the banks, what is there in it affording the promise of safety and security to the public?  Who, for the most part, have the benefit of the funds of the banks?  Who have a monopoly of their accommodations?  I answer, those who have been chiefly instrumental in getting them up; those who are not capitalists, but who are borrowers; those who wish to push their enterprise in the hope of building up their fortunes by employing borrowed capital.  If they succeed in their schemes all is well; but if not, who stands the brunt?  If losses happen, where do they fall?  I answer, on the public; the credulous, and confiding, and innocent public; they must be the sufferers.  The bank itself is in no situation to meet the exigency, for, all along, to sustain its reputation, it has declared and divided profits, to the utmost farthing of its earnings.  Every one knows that this is the true situation and conduct of the greater part of the minor local banks.  If there are exceptions, their number is exceedingly limited in comparison with the whole in operation.

I have not touched upon, neither do I intend to, a moiety of the weakness and utter instability of the local banks.  Experience has shown that they are altogether too much like the children's game of "Robin's alive, and alive like to be," &c.., and that the unfortunate holders of their bills, when the evil day does happen to come, have reserved for them a far higher penalty than to be "pack-saddled."

But to be serious, there is not afforded to the public in our system of local banks, that high and certain security against loss by their mismanagement, which ought, upon the soundest principles of right, to be provided.  If the system of local banks must be tolerated, for the benefit and advantage of those who are disposed to embark in them, sound principles of justice and equity demand, as a sine qua non, that they should be so shaped and restricted, as that, in any event, the innocent bill-holder should not be made the victim: better, far, that the exclusive privilege should be withheld, than that, in consequence of its exercise, a wrong should be inflicted on the community.

I have said nothing of the direct, deliberate wrongs that have been perpetrated by many of our State banks.  From period to period, in the plentitude of their consequence, fortified in their imagined supremacy above the laws, they have not hestitated to resort to the most unwarrantable means to increase and swell up the amount of their profits.  The time has been when the Massachusetts banks, or at least no inconsiderable portion of them, felt that they were above all law; that though they were in a degree restricted by the terms of their charters, yet they could with impunity artfully evade the wholesome restrictions of law which had been imposed by the government.

So arrogant and confident were the bankites in Boston at one time, that when the people felt aggrieved and began to wince at their high-handed doings, at their total diregard of law, and ventured to complain of the enormity of their conduct, they proudly gave out their defiance of the legislature, denied its supremacy, and scornfully bid it stand at bay.  Even the attorney general of the Commonwealth, who chanced to be the acting solicitor of one of the banks at the time, denied the authority of the government, and advised a course of resistance!  The issue is now history.  Maugre the arrogance of the banks, and the offical dictation and impertinence of the great law officer of the Commonwealth - thanks to the firmness and intelligence of the yeomanry and others of the legislature - the supremacy of the government was maintained and established.  The offenders were brought to the bar of the legislature, questioned, and examined; and, finally, after a fair trial, were found guilty of a violation of their charters, a portion punished, and others so severely reprimanded, though indirectly, as that, for a time, there was an honest compliance with the provisions of their charters.

I choose not to go into a minute detail of this conflict between the people and the banks.  I will however state, for the edification of those not conversant with the subject, that the matter of complaint was, that many Boston banks, not satisfied with excercising their legitimate powers for obtaining profits according to the terms of their charters, being restricted thereby to taking and exacting only six percent per annum interest, did, "with felonious intent," contrive to evade, and smother the wholesome provisions of their charters, and, under the cover of "Exchange," to bargain for and receive, nine, twelve, and even a greater per cent.  The process was plain and simple.  If a man wanted bank accommodations on an obligation made and payable in Boston, and applied for the same, the answer was, "that there was no money!"  On pressing his wants, he was answered that possibly he might be accommodated, but that if he was, he must take, in lieu of Boston bankbills, or specie, a check on Lynn, or Salem, or some other place in the vicinity of Boston, in full or part payment of what would be due him on the discount of his paper; and this too at a premium of, say three or five per cent on the amount!  The applicant naturally said, what do I want checks on Lynn for?  The answer was, "no matter, this is all we can do."  What then?  Why, upon a comparison of views, the needy applicant finds that "the long and short of the matter is," that if he will consent to pay exorbitant interest for money, he can be accommodated; but if not, he may go somewhere else for it - the issue of such negotiations no one need question - "necessity brooks no law."  Thus was practised, for a long period, a most grinding and pernicious system of shaving, of downright, wicked extortion, on the part of banks, which was a disgrace to all who had any agency in the matter, adverse to the interests of the community, and at utter variance with the terms of the charters of the banks.

Such conduct as I have described, on the part of the banks, worked a lasting injury to their reputations; its natural and legitimate effect was to stir up and perpetuate a strong feeling of hostility to all banks; and long will it be before the unfavorable impression will be removed. - Had the conduct of our banks been honest and fair, such as is plainly enjoined both by the letter and spirit of their charters, they would have been held in the minds of the public in very differnt estimation from what they are at present.  A return to the proper and legitimate objects of banking, and a scrupulous thereto, can alone dissipate and overcome that hostility to them which is so widely felt and openly manifested; and well will it be if those who control and manage them shall be rightly impressed and influenced by the experience that has been had. If a contrary course is pursued, if banks are above law; if the power they possess is wantonly used and abused, as it has been, the time will come when the same power that created them will sternly decree, and accomplish their destruction.

I have already said much of the error of the system of banking in this country.  I consider it bad in the extreme.  At the present day, with the experience that has been had, were we to commence a banking system de novo, scarcely a man could be found weak enough to advocate such a system as at present exists.  Innumerable objections besides those I have stated would be urged.  Evils and abuses which I have not named, which are known to have happened, would be sounded far and near in opposition.  But after all, the system exists; and it is no slight labor to devise a plan for its abolition.  It is manifest that it cannot be suddenly changed; it cannot be cut down, at a blow, without producing awful and distressing consequences.  A single glance at the subject suffices to show that no sudden and sweeping action is for a moment to be thought of.  If any thing like a thorough change is attempted it must be the work of time.  The existing intersts of the community will not admit of any thing beyond a gradual return to sound principles.  So generally received is the opinion of the nature of banks as they exist at present, that it may well be questioned if a moiety of the people are friendly to their continued existence.  We hear constantly an outpouring of denunciations against the banks.  It comes from all quarters, and is not limited to any particular class of men, for among their opponents are to be found those of all ranks, parties, and conditions.  The opposition is not confined to the ignorant and unlearned; but embraces in its numbers hosts of men of high intellect and experience, and conspicuous for scholastic and literary attainments.  Now it is manifest that this state of public opinion is not the result of a calm and sober decision upon the nature of banks; upon the principles involved in their existence and support; but is rather, the consequence of the abuses that have been exhibited in the conduct and management of them.  Banks, in my opinion, conducted with a sincere regard to the rights and interests of the public, as well as to the pecuniary interests of their proprietors, are, undoubtedly, great blessings to the community.  They afford facilities for the extension and exercise of human energy and enterprise, and are powerful aids in the advancement and development of the resources of our country.  Like a liberal system of credit, as adopted and practised by our government in the collection of its necessary imposts, banks, properly and legitimately managed, operate as vast joint stock associations through whose instrumentality the most valuable and important capital of the country is fostered and encouraged for the benefit of every body.

Let me be understood.  I assert that the true wealth of every community consists, so far as property is concerned in the aggregate amount of the intelligence, industry, and enterprise of the young and middle aged.  They constitute the real "bone and muscle," the stamina of society, not only in their physical powers, but in their indomitable "go-ahead spirit" which alone can be relied upon for the accomplishment of great and noble enterprises.  The class of men of from twenty-one to forty-five years of age, are the pith and marrow, the soul of every community.  No matter that they constitute not the wealthiest class or division of society; on them rests the accomplishment of most that is chivalrous, and generous, and noble, in short of all those great and valuable provisions for the cause of humanity, in all their details, which serve to ennoble and elevate a community.  This portion of our population needs and deserves all encouragement and support.  Sound policy demands it.  Valuable and important as are the men of more advanced age, men of great wealth, as they serve to make out the aggregate amount of society, little reliance can be placed upon them for generous and chivalrous enterprise, for the originating and carrying through, to their full consummation, objects and schemes for the good of the community.  This is all natural, and is, in very truth, the true estimate of things.  The young are unsophisticated, are full of generous and lofty feeling, wide awake to liberal and generous enterprise, looking with ardent feelings and hopes to the object of subserving the great interests of humanity, while those of more mature experience, those who have encountered the ills of life, who have realized that their fellow men are in the main, guided and influenced by considerations of private interest, naturally ensconse themselves within the narrow purviews of those measures and objects which on their face, promise them safety and a perpetuity of the power and consequence to which they have already attained.  I wish not in any wise to depreciate the character and importance of the elevated and wealthy.  But, at the same time, I feel at liberty to speak of them according to their desserts, as I understand them.  If asked where is the evidence to be found of the truth and soundness of my position, I answer, in all the experience of the past; in what men have done, and in what they have failed or neglected to do, and in what is daily taking place in full view of us all.  A keen observer of men, impartial in his judgment and conclusions, cannot fail to have perceived in the history of the past, and of what is constantly going on in the world, the full and complete demonstration of the soundness of the views on this point I have attempted to present, whether palatable or not, it is true.

What then, it may be asked, follows?  Suppose it is so, what is to be done?  I answer, so shape the legislation and policy of our governments as to meet and foster the true intersets of the people.  So legislate, as in the greatest degree to give life and power to the highest energies of the people.  Encourage the young, industrious, and enterprising; call forth their power and talents, and, if practicable, enable them to compete with those who have already acquired great wealth.  This cannot be accomplished by a narrow system of policy.  A specie system and a smothering of credit, must be fatal to the interests of the major part of those whose only capital is honesty, intelligence, enterprise, and frugality.

I have dwelt at some length upon the point at issue; have expressed myself somewhat elaborately, though loosely, upon the policy of fostering the young and middle aged.  constituted and situated as is our community, I feel most deeply, the importance of adopting a liberal system of banking.  But, at the same time, I deem it of vital importance that in no particular should banks if created have license so to conduct as to conflict with the just rights and interests of the people.  It is indispensable that if we must have a paper currency that is should be stable, safe, and in a high degree free from fluctuations in value.  All bank notes should be, in all respects, equal in value to the coin of the country, under every exigency.  More than this, it is highly desirable not only that all paper money should be sound currency, equal to gold and sliver, but that all bills that constitute the currency, should be of uniform execution and appearance, so that they shall be perfectly familiar to the unlettered; or, at least, so simple and uniform on their face as to come within the capacity of the great mass of the community rightly to understand and discrimnate as to their true character.  How is it now, under the system that prevails?  With our eight hundred or a thousand banking institutions in the United States, who, be he ever so keen and learned, can pretend to any thing like a thorough knowledge of the true character of bank notes?  Out of one's own State, in the main, great ignorance on the subject must of necessity prevail; it would almost require the constant and untiring devotion of a whole life to be conversant with the varieties of bank notes in circulation.  Further, if paper must constitute the currency of the country, if a limited portion of our people must have, or are permitted to have, the privilege of issuing as currency their promises to pay, the ignorant and unwary should not, in any case be subjected to loss by conterfeit bills.  This has been and is a serious evil.  With a right system of banking it might be obviated.  For a time, whether it is so now I know not, the rule of the Bank of England was to pay all notes presented; whether genuine or spurious.  It was a just policy; and though on its face it might seem so be rather onerous upon the institution, yet it was right in principle, and was not fraught with great evil.  The truth is, that the operation of such a policy tends to prevent and restrain counterfeiting; for once adopted, the practice would be on the part of the bank to require the fullest and most explicit account of the origin of bills in the hands of the holder, and thus enable the institution to trace and ferret out the perpetrators of the wrong.  Under such a system it is most evident that there would be much greater difficulty in successfully uttering spurious bank notes than there is at present.  Experience has shown this to be true, for there is not one counterfeit note of the Bank of England, in comparison with the circulation, to ten that are in circulation in this country. 

I have said thus much of banks and banking, not for the object of displaying myself on paper, nor yet with the foolish vanity of supposing I am wiser than others.  I feel that our present banking system is any thing other than what the wants of our country demand.  I believe that it is practicable, even at this late day, to adopt such a system as may, and probably will, effectually obviate the evils under which we at present labor; that such an institution can be created as shall better meet the wants of the community than any thing we have heretofore enjoyed.  I doubt not in the least, the feasibility of establishing and maintaining a banking institution which shall afford to the people of the United States a better currency, on the whole, that has ever been, or is now enjoyed by any people on earth.  The extent of our territory and the nature of our condition, peculiarly demand a great fiscal agent for the benefit of all interests, for the accommodation of the whole people.  What prevents our availing ourselves of the advantages within our grasp, and setting about, in sober earnest, the creation of such an institution as is demanded by our wants?  There exist, in my mind, no other obstacles than a lack of intelligence on the subject, and mists of prejudice which, under party influence, have sprung up, and, in the botbed of partizan feeling, have attained a towering height in the minds of the people.  This can be overcome by calm and free discussion.  It is necessary only that the subject should be presented to the people in its true light, and their good sense cannot fail of leading them to a right decision.

I know very well that a hurricane of abuse and opposition has been poured forth against a National Bank.  But under what circumstances has this opposition and apparently determined feeling been called forth?  Certainly not upon a cool, candid, and fair examination of the true merits of the subject; but, rather, under the influence of the experience of the operation of such a bank as we have had, than upon a careful examination and estimate of the merits of such an one as we may have.  Nothing can be weaker than to rely upon and be guided exclusively by the limited experience of the past.  Let me be understood.  I decry not experience, for I consider it of great value; but I protest against the wisdom of ruling against the policy of a National Bank, because in the experiments that have been made, evils have been experienced.  True wisdom demands that before the policy is abandoned, a rigid analysis of the past should be instituted; a thorough examination and search after improvements be made, and a deliberate weighing of the whole matter be had, before a final decision.  Most confident I am that if the subject is throughly discussed, if men of thought, and intellect, and experience, devote themselves to it, it will be determined that we must have a National Bank; that it is, as I have stated, indispensable to the interests of the country.

I am perfectly aware that numerous objections may be set up.  It is very generally urged that a National Bank must of necessity become the engine
 of party; that it is not safe to trust any party, or any body of men, with so vast a power as a bank of many millions of dollars; that, in the hands and under the control of ambitious politicians, it will be sure to rule the politics of the country.  Beyond this, it is urged that in the dispensation of its favours, a National Bank will tend to build up and promote the interests of the few, to the detriment of the many; and that, therefore, it would be unsafe and unjust to establish one.  I grant that if of necessity such must be the effect and operation, we had better not take any hazard in the matter.  But I am yet to be convinced that such would be the operation of such an institution as I propose to have established.  A bank can be so shaped, so guarded and restricted in the exercise of its powers, as that the evils apprehended would never happen.  The experience that has been had in the two banks which have had their run, points to many evils that existed in them.  They had their merits, and their defects.  On the whole they worked well; but it by no means follows that no improvement can be made upon them.  To suppose this, would be to set at naught the power and force of experience.  Palpable defects existed in both the old banks, as regards the checks and restraints that are necessary to the preservation of the interests of the community.  They were left too much under the control and direction of those who chanced to obtain their management, without such necessary checks, restraints, and guards as would tend to prevent abuse, and secure, in the highest degree, an impartial diffusion of their benefits.  To be explicit, the time has been, under that old United States Bank, when its favors and accommodations were dispensed too much in masses; to the detriment and injury of those of moderate means.  I mean, that the time has been when certain individuals already rich, and strong, and powerful, could in a time of need have great accommodations, while those of more moderated means, possessing and offering equally good securities for money proposed to be borrowed, were turned awayas of no consideration.  This is revolting in the extreme; and most natural is it that it should have generated in the minds of the people a feeling of discontent and hostility to any such institution.  Men are eagle-eyed as to what is right, and especially are they so when their pecuniary interests or money accommodations are concerned.  Perhaps to the evil I have described, more than to any thing else, may fairly be attributed the hositility that exists among our people to a National Bank.

Of the safety and stability of a great National Bank, rightly constituted, there can be no doubt; - it would be as safe, and permanent, as the great and diversified interests of the country.  How, and upon what principles, ought the institution to be constructed?  Shall it be strictly a government bank, and under the exclusive control of the government, for the pecuniary benefit and advantage of the whole people?  Or shall it be established and carried on by associated individual capitalists? Or shall it be composed of mixed elements, embracing in its ownership and management both government and individual interest and control?  To the first question I answer emphatically no; for however plausible may be the hypothesis of reserving and exercising the right of banking by the government for its profits, to enure to the whole people; it is, most clearly, not one of the powers and objects for which our government was instituted.  The means, though abundant in the hands of the capitalists and others, are not rightfully at the command of the government, to say nothing of the lack of prudence and vigilance that might be expected, if it were made a purely government affair..

The second question must be answered in like manner; for if the bank were to be a purely private concern, divorced from government interest, it could not possess that nationality of character which is indispensable in the great fiscal agent of the government, and of the business of the whole country.  But even if it were practicable and desirable that the government should not participate, there seems little probability that its consent could be obtained for such a plan.

We come then to the last inquiry, and here we think is found the true and only proper basis for such an institution as the interests of the country demand.  The government should become a party, not only on account of its direct interest in such an institution on which must be devolved much to be done and accomplished on its account, but for the sake of participating in that watchfulness, and control over it, which the safety of the interests of the public demands.  Besides, as I have before intimated, no bank can possess that high character of nationality which is needed, unless the government is a party in interest.  The government should be a party for the reasons I have stated, and many more which I might add; and private capitalists should be principal proprietors, in order to insure prudent and discreet management.  I forbear to dwell upon this point, for all experience goes to show that direct private interest must be ten fold more vigilant and watchful, than can be the mere compensated agents of government.

In the two United States' banks we have had, almost from the day of their creation, until the periods of their dissolution, there have been constant and vast speculations carried on in their stocks.  It is apparent that facilities for the ready sale and transfer of the stock of a National Bank should be ample, and unrestricted.  But, at the same time, it may well be questioned whether it conduces to the interest of the institution, or of the public, to bandy the stock from day to day, to force it up and down in value, at the will of adroit and sanquine speculators.  It may be that such operations are inherent in the nature of the institution, and propensities of our people; but there can be no dobt that if a bank can be so constructed as to avoid and, to a considerable extent prevent such action, a not unimportant point will be gained.  At any rate, it is most certainly desirable so to restrict the officers and conductors of the affairs of the institution, as effectually to prevent their obtaining and using its funds for the object of advancing the price of its stock with a view to speculation.  That this was done often, and to an enormous extent, under the former charters, is not doubted.  And this too, by high bank officers; by those who were specially intrusted with the management of the funds of the institution.  I speak not without knowledge on the subject.  It is but too probable that officers of the late United States Bank associated with others had, from time to time, enormously great loans of moneys; that they took it on short credit or payable on demand, and for the object of
 purchasing large amounts of the stock of the bank, with a view to produce an advance in the price of the same, and that object attained, to pocket a profit by a re-sale.  It may be urged that admitting this to be true, it does not follow that any loss accrued to the institution.  Probalby there was not.  But suppose it was so, who will pretend that it was within the legitmate province of the officers of the bank thus to appropriate its funds?  A glance at the subject carries conviction of the impropriety of such conduct.  In the National Bank which I advocate I propose to close the door, to bar and restrain such, and all similar abuses.  Without elaborate, thorough, and efficeient restrictions, a National Bank might prove a curse to the people - with them, in other respects wisely constituted and conducted, it cannot fail to result in vast and almost inappreciable benefits to the community.

Having said thus much of banks and banking, and made those suggestions which are uppermost in my mind, believing the subject to be one of vast importance, and that it may with great propriety be fully discussed, nay, that it demands thorough investigation, I proceed to offer, in the shape of a skelton of a project, my views of such a national bank as I think the true policy of the country demands should be adopted.

In presenting this plan, I by no means am so vain as to think it is perfect; that it embodies every feature that should be adopted.  On the contrary, my sole purpose is to throw out suggestions, to spread upon paper such thougths and opinions on the subject as present themselves to my mind, in the firm belief that the object is of great and vital importance; and, that the more minds are devoted to it, the more thoroughly it is discussed, the greater will be the facilities for framing and adopting such a system as is demanded by the wants of the community.  I proceed to set forth a plan; which done, I shall offer to some extent, my reasons in support of the various features of the character of the institution I desire to have adopted.


1st.  The charter of the National Bank shall be for a period of forty years from the date of its incorporation.  Its head shall be located, and permanently fixed in the city of_______, and it shall be entitled the Bank OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  The main bank shall be called and known as the HEAD-BANK, and the branches created shall ever be dependent upon and under its control.

2d.  The capital of the institution shall, at starting, be Fifty Millions of Dollars.  Of this amount, the government shall be the owners and proprietors of Ten Millions of Dollars.  The residue, Forty Millions of Dollars, of the capital stock, shall be disposed of in the manner following, viz.: the amount shall be apportioned by a congressional committee, to be disposed of at various important points of the Union, say at New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, the city of New York, Boston, Portland, Cincinnati, and at such other important places in the Union as may be determined upon by said committee as being of so much importance as to deserve to be included in the arrangement, at public auction, simultaneously, at a given day and hour after due notice by advertisement has been given, in such amounts and proportions as correspond to the wealth, amount of business, or population of the respective districts determined on for sale, either, or all of them, to be decided and fixed upon at the discretion of said committee. The stock shall be offered at its par value, viz., in shares of One Hundred Dollars each, and not to be sold unless it brings that price - and all that is given over and abvove the par value, to enure to and be paid over, in the onset, to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, for the benefit of the people thereof.  An advance, in specie, to be required to be paid, on subscription, of, say five or ten dollars per share, and the residue to be paid in in such instalments, and at such periods, as may be prescribed by the terms of the charter.

3d.  The subscription being completed, the organization shall be made in the following manner, viz.., the United States government having become proprietors to the amount of one-fifth of the capital stock shall, by the nomination of the President, subject to confirmation by a majority of the Senate, appoint four directors of the institution; and the individuals who may have subscribed for and taken the other four-fifths of the amount of the stock, shall proceed to elect fourteen directors, not more than seven of whom, including any or all of those appointed by the government, shall be residents of any one State in the Union..  In voting for the said directors, every holder of stock shall be entitled to as many votes as he is the bonafide owner of shares, not exceeding, in any case, the number of fifty votes - provided that no persons, other than resident citizens of the United States, being owners of the stock of the bank, shall have a right to vote; in order to the reserving, exclusively, the control of the said institution to the citizens of the United States.

The Board of Directors of eighteen persons, thus appointed and chosen, shall thereupon, on a day fixed by the charter, proceed further to organize the said institution, by choosing from their own body a President and a Cashier.  This doen, the said officers shall have the appointment of such clerks and agents of the bank as may be deemed necessary to its proper management.

4th..  The said President and Directors, appointed and chosen in the manner set forth, shall have power, and it shall be their duty, to establish at such places in the several States as many branches of the head-bank, as in their opinion the public interests demand.  And they may apportion and set off to the same, to be employed and used, such portions of the capital of the bank as may be thought advisable.  And they shall have power and authority to appoint and employ all the necessary officers of said branches, including the Presidents and Cashiers of the same, and Boards of Directors thereof.  And the said officers thus created, shall at all times be strictly amenable to the officers of the head-bank; shall act under their direction, and be removable from their respective stations at the pleasure of the President, Cashier, and Directors of the head-bank, by the vote of a majority of the same, and others appointed by them in their stead.

The President and Directors shall cause to be struck off and executed, in the outset, and from time to time, authenticated by the written signatures of the President and Cashier, such bills, and such amounts of the same, of the denomination of -------- dollars and upwards, not exceeding in any case bills of an amount of Five Thousand dollars, as they may decide to be necessary and proper for the use of the institution and its branches; to be used by the head-bank, and to be distributed in such amounts among the branches created, as shall be needed, or in such estimated proportions, in amount, as shall correspond with the wants of said branches; and said bills shall at all times, wherever issued, be redeemable and payable on presentation at the head-bank.  Further, the President and Directors shall cause to be struck off and executed, authenticated by the written signature of the President, an amount of bills of the denomination of five dollars and upwards, not exceeding, in any case, bills of the denomination of ten dollars; and of such bills, such amounts shall be distributed among the branches of the bank, to be completed by the respective Cashiers of the same, by their respective signatures, as shall be sufficient to meet the wants of the said respective branches.  And all bills of said denominations of five and ten dollars, thus executed and issued by the respective branches, shall at all times be redeemable and payable in specie, on demand, at the counters of all the branches of the bank, and at the head-bank; and all bills of the denomination of from five dollars to fifty dollars, wherever issued, shall, at times, be redeemable and payable in specie at the counter of the head-bank, and at all the branches of the same, wherever situated.

And in addition to bills of the denomination of five and ten dollars, it shall be the duty of the President and Cashier of the head-bank, to cause to be executed, and authenticated by the signature of the President, such farther amounts and denominations of bills, to be distributed among the respective branches of the institution, and to be completed by the respective signatures of the Cashiers of the same, as may be decided by them to be necessary, and all such bills shall be redeemable and payable in specie, on demand, at the counters of the branches of the banks whence issued.

5th.  In addition to the Fifty Millions of capital stock, provided to be created in the manner set forth, the several States may, in their sovereignty, severally have the privilege of subscribing for and becoming proprietors of the stock of the institution in the further sum of Twenty Millions of dollars, to be taken and subscribed for at the par value of the same, within the term of two years from the date of the organization of the bank, in amounts corresponding to the ratio of their representation in the House of Representatives of the congress of the United States; said subscriptions to be made and to take effect, so far as the profits of the investment are or may be concdrned, within the first year of the existence of the bank, and to share in the profits after one year, or within the second year of the same, and to share in the earnings or profits of the bank after two years.  And such State sovereignties as may become subcribers to the stock of the bank shall have the same, and no other, voice or power in the management, direction, and control of the bank and its affairs, as the private stockholders of the same; that is, they shall have no other voice or control in the matter, than simply to cast their votes, in the ratio of the amount of the stock they hold, for the choice of Directors.

6th.  During the term of the charter, there shall be offered, from year to year, at the original points or places in the Union which shall be fixed upon for the disposal of the stock, in the first instance, ten millions of additional stock, to be disposed of annually, which amount shall be distributed by the President and Directors of the bank among the several places of sale at their discretion; said amounts of stock to be disposed of in open market, at auction sales, to the highest bidders; saving and excepting, that if any incorporated bank of any one of the United States, where such sale of stock is proposed to be made, shall appear, by its agent, to purchase of the stock, they shall have the preference, the right to take and subscribe for the stock to be disposed of, at par, conditioned only, that their subscription shall be equal in amount to one-half the amount of the capital stock of their existing institution, and that the amount
 of stock to be disposed of in any State shall equal in amount the capital of the bank applying for the same.  And in the event of competition for the stock offered, by and between local or State banks, then the applicants shall have priority and share in the stock in the ratio of the amounts of their respective capitals; or, if so great is the competition, in the opinions of the President and Directors, among the several banking institutions, as to make it advisable, then the said amount of stock shall be disposed of at auction, to the highest bidders of the agents of said banks, and whatever premium or advance is paid above the par value of the shares of the stock, shall enure to and be paid into the treasury of the United States.  And such additional new subscribers to the stock of the bank, shall thereafter, dating from the termination of the prededing year of the existence of the bank, be entitled to share equally with all former subscribers in the profits and dividends of the same.

7th.  Of the duties, powers, and offices of the bank and its branches.--The bank and its branches, through its officers, shall at all times be bound to redeem, and pay in specie, on demand, at the places before designated, all bills purporting on their face to be genuine bills of the institution, whether they be genuine or not; to the end that the innocent receiver and holder of what purports to be money shall, in no case, be the sufferer by the creation and support of paper money by the government, as a substitute for coined specie money.

All bills issued by the bank, shall be of uniform character and appearance in their execution, escepting in their denomination and amount, and the necessary authentication by the respective cashiers of the branches as to those bills they may be authorised to complete.

It shall be the duty of the bank, and of its branches, at all times, to take and have the custody of the public money of the government of the United States, to disburse the same to the orders of the government, in such sums, and at such times and places, as may be required; and no charge of exaction shall be made therefor.

It shall be the duty of the bank, and of its branches, at all times, to take and have the custody of the public money of the government of the United States, to disburse the same to the orders of the government, in such sums, and at such times and places, as may be required; and no charge or exaction shall be made therefor.

It shall be the especial duty of the bank and its branches to effect for the citizens the exchanges of the country; and for cash exchanges between different points, they shall be allowed to charge, and exact from the party accommodated, one half of one per cent, and in no case more, for doing the same.  And for effecting exchanges on time, say where money is drawn for, to be paid at a date of thirty days or more subsequent to the period of the negotiation of the bill or security, then they may charge and exact at the rate of three-fourths of one per cent on the amount of the same.  But where the distance, by the usually travelled route, between the place of negotiation of the paper and the place drawn upon, is not over three hundred miles, then the charge and exaction for cash exchanges shall never exceed one-fouth of one per cent, nor one half of one per cent for discount of paper on time.  The banks may make loans to the government from time to time, but never exceeding in the aggregate, at one time, ----- millions of dollars.  It may also loan to State sovereignties, but never in any case, either directly or indirectly, more than ------ dollars to any one State, at one time; that is, no State shall ever be the debtor of the bank in a greater sum, at any time, than ----- dollars.  The bank, through its officers, including all its branches, shall periodically, once in every month, on a fixed day of the same, make and publish, in one or more of the public newspapers in each State, a full and complete statement of its condition, including all the branches of the same, in which shall be set forth the amount of specie and bullion on hand, the amount of bank notes in
 circulation, its liabilities or indebtedness, of every kind, the value of its real estate and all other property it may possess, and particularly, the amounts due arising from the loans and discounts made; thus exhibiting at one view the real condition of the institution and all its branches; and the said required statement shall, in all cases, be authenticated by the attestations of the president and cashier of the head-bank, so far as it is concerned, under their oaths; and the statements of the condition of the respective branches shall, in like manner, be verified by the attestations and oaths of  the respective presidents and cashiers of the same.  And it shall be the duty of the  cashier of the head-bank to furnish promptly and transmit to the executive of each of the States a copy of each statement so made, to the end that a correct knowledge of the true situation of the institution may, at all times, be had and widely disseminated.

8th.  There shall be provided the following restrictions and penalties viz.:

1.  There shall never at any time be issued and put in circulation more than ----- ------ dollars, in the notes or securities of the bank and its branches, for each dollar of capital stock actually realized and paid into the bank by the subscribers to the stock of the same.

2.  The notes and securities of the institution in circulation shall never at any time, be greater in amount than in the ratio of ----- ----- dollars of the same, to one dollar of specie and bullion on hand.

3.  No President, Cashier, officer or agent of the bank, or of its branches, excepting the directors of the same, shall ever be suffered or permitted to become a debtor to the institution, either directly or indirectly, of any amount whatever; and a violation of this provision shall forever incapacitate all such as shall have been concerned in, or in any wise contenanced it, from any participation in the control of the institution, and besides, they shall each pay a penalty for the use and benefit of the institution, of the sum of one thousand dollars, for each offence.

4.  No President, Cashier, officer or agent of the bank, or of its branches, excepting the directors of the same, shall in any case, or to any extent, ever be the owners of, or interested in, the capital stock of the institution, under penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold any office, agency or station in the administration of the affairs of the same, and of a forfeiture of the amount of stock at any time discovered to be so owned, or interested in, for the benefit of the government of the United States.

5.  In case of any embezzlement of, or depredation upon, the funds or property of the bank, or its branches by any President, Cashier, officer or agent of the institution, the party so offending, together with all those who have participated in, or countenanced the act, including the directors of the head-bank, and its branches, shall be punished by instant and perpetual dismission from office, by a deprivation of the right of citizenship, and by imprisonment for a term of time not less than three and not more then fifteen years after conviction, at the discretion of the court before whom trial shall be had.

6.  The penalty for counterfeiting, or aiding, to any extent, in counterfeiting the bills or securities of the institution or of uttering and putting them in circulation, shall be imprisonment and hard labour for life, the proportions of each to be determined by the court before whom trial for the offence shall be had.

7.  Of the earnings of profits of the bank from period to period, dividends shall be declared and paid semi-annually, (in case any profits accrue,) by the President and directors of the head-bank, provided, that, in no case, for the term of seven years from the commencement of the operations of the bank shall a greater dividend be made than at the rate of seven per cent per annum on the stock of the same; and, that it shall be competent for the government of the United States within the seventh year of the existence of the bank, to restrict the dividends and payments of the same, thereafter, to six per cent per annum on the capital stock for the term of ten years next following, and within that period they shall have power further to reduce the dividends, thereafter, to the rate of five per cent per annum.

8.  All the earnings or profits of the institution, over and above what is allowed to be declared and paid to the holders of the stock of the bank, shall  enure to and be paid in to the treasury of the United States, once in two years, for the benefit of the same.

9.  For the object of preventing, in some degree, a monopoly of the benefits and accommodations of the institution, no individual, firm or copartnership, or private corporation, shall ever become the debtor to the bank, or any one or all of its branches, at any time, in a greater amount than ------ dollars excepting that the amount of liabilities to the institution of said described parties shall not be restricted in the amount of exchanges negotiated and discounted for them between place and place, and provided that in all cases when the amount is over and above ---- dollars of such accommodation in exchanges afforded by the bank, two good and sufficient endorsers to the bills shall be furnished by the party accommodated.

    10.  The institution shall never, in any case, deal or speculate in, or become the owner of real estate, beyond what is absolutely necessary
 for its managing and carrying on its business as a bank.  Neither shall it ever be permitted to deal or speculate in, or become the owner of any species or description of merchandise, except so far as the same may become its property by reason of the inability of its debtor or debtors to cancel and pay the amount of their indebtedness in money, when the same shall become due; and, in all cases, when real or personal estate shall become the property of the institution, in the manner described, then it shall be the imperative duty of the president or the cashier of the head-bank, to cause that the same shall be disposed of and sold for cash, or on a credit not exceeding six months, with good security, at public auction, after due notice shall have been given, for the benefit of the bank, to the end, that there shall be no speculation embarked in, or carried on, on its account.

    11.  In all cases when accommodations are asked of the bank, or of its branches, the securities being equal, a preference shall be given to the applicants for moderate sums; say, amounts ranging from one hundred to one thousand dollars; to the end of widely diffusing the benefits of the institution, and of extending accommodation to that class, or portion, of the citizens who may be presumed most to need it; and in furtherance of this feature of the required policy of the bank and its branches, in the monthly returns and statements required to be made, it shall be distinctly set forth in the amount of indebtedness to the institution, what amount consists of debts of from one hundred to one thousand dollars, inclusive, with the particulars of the same.  The compensation to all officers, clerks, and agents of the institution shall be fixed and determined by the vote of a majority of the directors of the head-bank; shall be specific, not depending upon contingencies, and shall not be subject to increase, or diminution, oftener than once in three years, and then to be effected by a vote of two thirds of the directors.

    12.  It shall be lawful for the bank, and its branches, to discount, deal in, and dispose of foreign exchange, at discretion; at all times adhering to and aiming at the great object of reasonably facilitating the interests of the people of the country; and in order to the satisfaction of those who may be jealous of the operation of this power, it shall be the duty of the officers of the bank, and its branches, on whom is devolved the duty of furnishing to the public, the monthly exhibits of the transactions and condition of the institution, to set forth minutely, and specifically, the exact amount, from time to time, of the operations of the bank in foreign exchange, and the precise rates at which the purchases of bills have been made, the amount of sales of the same, and the rates and terms of disposal.  And further, the monthly statements required shall always contain a true and definite account of the amount of the balances due the institution in foreign places, whith all the particulars of where due; and set forth distinctly, and in particulars, from period to period, the amount of foreign indebtedness by the same.

    13.  No director of the bank, or of any of its branches, shall ever become a debtor to the institution, at any time, in the aggregate, more than to the amount of ----- thousand dollars, under penalty of disqualification to hold and retain his office, and a forfeiture of the sum of ------ thousand dollars to enure to the government of the United States.  And each and every of his associate directors aiding and permitting an excess of his accommodations, shall forfeit and pay the sum of ------ dollars to enure to the United States.

    14.  No loan, discount, or accommodation shall ever be made or granted to any person, or persons, by the bank or its branches, without the sanction and approval, at the time of the transation of at least ----- Directors of the bank, or the branch of the same, where the transation is had.

    15.  The monthly reutrns shall always distinctly exhibit and set forth, so far as can be known or ascertained, the respective amounts of actual business, and accommodation paper discounted. 

    16.  No other person than a resident citizen of the United States shall ever be eligible to the directorship, or any office in the institution.

    17.  No person elected to the office of Director shall be re-eligible more than once in three years, excepting the Presidents and Cashiers, to whom the prohibition shall not extend.  Of the Directors elected by the Government of the United States, only two shall be re-eligible at the next annual choice after their first election, and of those chosen by the Stockholders but seven shall be re-chosen at the expiration of the year, to the end that one half the Directors shall annually retire from their stations and new ones be placed in their stead.

I have thus thrown out some of my views of the kind of banking institution which I think is needed.  As to the numerous details which are necessary to be set forth in the Charter, in order to the conducting and administering the affairs of the institution, it does not fall within the scope of my present undertaking to supply them.  They are familiar to all conversant with the forms of law, and to most men of business who have had any experience in banks and banking.

I propose, briefly, to say something of the probable tendency and effect of such an institution as I have described, upon the interests of the community.  In the first place, it is obvious that should the plan be adopted, the paper currency of our country would be vastly improved.  Instead of the incongruous and infinitely varied character of the bank notes which now constitute, to a great extent, the currency of the country, we should have one of almost exact and uniform value, every where.  the form and character of a Bank Note, of whatever denomination, would be the same from Maine to Louisiana, just as much so as the legally recognized coin of the government..  Now, the notes of specie paying banks, perfectly understood and valued as equal to specie, in their home-localities, are not known and fairly apprenciated at any considerable distance from whence they issue.  But those of a National Bank cannot, by possibility fail of commanding universal confidence wherever they may be found.  Added to this, too much stress cannot be laid upon what I have before adverted to, the uniformity of execution and appearance of the bills.  All the bills would be alilke, saving only the difference in their denominations; so that he who knows what is good money at home, where he chances to reside, would be at no loss on the subject of the character of paper money in any part of the United States.  At present, as I have before remarked, no man, if he goes from home, can know and understand what is good paper money --- he must, of necessity, depend upon the superior information of others in the various localities where his business or inclination may call him.  This is an evil of no slight magnitude.  If it can be obviated, a great point will be gained.  Is it not perfectly apparent tht the direct tendency of the bank I propose, is to accomplish this great and important object?  Think for a moment of the improvement that would be effected, and who can doubt the importance of the object?  In lieu of a perfectly unintelligible currency, known only in the narrow circuit of its immediate locality, we should have such a uniformity and unity in bank notes, that all, even the most unwary, could be at no loss about them.  The contrast between such a currency, and that which now prevails, of itself, ought to carry conviction to every man's mind of the desirableness of the change that is proposed to be made.  Suppose for a moment that the system where adopted and in full operation, that the paper currency of this widely extended country was confined to the bills of an institution, of the character I have described, who could doubt, in the least, its vast superiortiy over the present system or state of things?  The preference is so palpable, that it would be but a mere waste of words to attempt its demonstration.

But to look a little further; the superior advantages of the system are by no means confined to the uniformity in the value and appearance of the bank notes.  Other and higher advantages can be secured by such an institution as I propose to have established.  In addition to its constituting a strictly national currency, it would accomplish that which is in no other way attainable; it could not fail of proving a far superior instrument of equalizing and effecting the exchanges of the country, than any thing which has yet been devised.  True, President Jackson talked and boasted of the excellence and adequacy of the local banks, for the accomplishment of this great object.  But what has experience shown upon the subject?  Have his high wrought predictions and anticipations been realized, or has there been even an approximation to them?  Every one knows, full well, that they have not; but on the contrary, that his boasted theoretical opinions have, on fair trial, proved an utter failure.  It is in vain to attempt to disguise the fact, that the views and opinions of President Jackson and his followers, on the subject of the currency, of banks and banking, and of the fiscal wants and interests of the country, have been crude and erroneous, and so far as they have been tried, have resulted in actual demonstration of their gross ignorance on the subject.  More than this, it is difficult, after the experience that has been had, for any intelligent man to cherish the idea or belief, that the views of these politicains were susc
eptible, under any circumstances, of being so carried out as to accomplish the great objects sought to be attained.  Their theory of the finances of the country, and of the best mode of conducting and managing them, most obviously savored more strongly of the mere political partizan, bent upon carrying a point, than of the intelligent statesman.  Their views, and action, have been marked with a spirit of desperation --- an indomitable desire to carry a point, at all hazards.  If it is asked where is the evidence of this assertion?  I answer, in the whole history of the matter; --- in the total disregard of the expressed voice and opinion of the legislative branch of the government, and in the conscientious and firm opposition of a secretary of the treasury of President Jackson's selection and appointment.  But I pass over this black page in the history of our government.  Long, I hope it will be before we shall be called to witness a similar usurpation of power on the part of any officer of our government.

I come now to a highly important point in the matter of which I am treating.  It is strongly urged that the creation of a national moneyed institution is not warranted by the constitution!  Strange indeed, that after what has passed, after having, under two administration, been granted two several charters for a bank, each of twenty years duration, the constitutionality of the measure should be called in question!  First, the friends of the measure have on their side, and it is no small matter, all the advantage of a contemporaneous construction.  It is well known that, to a large extent, those who aided in framing our constitution, were among the first chosen by the people to take part in the administration of the government; that our beloved WASHINGTON was at its head, deliberately sanctioned the first charter for a National Bank, that it had, besides, the support of a majority of both branches of the Congress, and that the correctness of the decision then had, was hardly made matter of doubt for a period of twenty years.  At the termination of the first charter, when the question of renewal came up, at a period of great political excitement, when a strong party feeling existed against those who owned the stock of the bank, then it was, for the first time, seriously set up that it was not only impolitic but unconstitutional to create a National Bank.  To the great detriment of the interests of the country, and, particularly to the government, the enemies of a bank prevailed -- the then existing charter was not renewed, and no new institution was created to take its place.  For five long years, embracing the whole period of the memorable war of 1812, the people of this country were forced by the wrong-headedness of their rulers to forego the benefits of a national bank.  The want of such an institution at this critical period of our history, was most deeply and bitterly felt by the people, and more especially by the government.  Well is it remembered by many, how palpable was the suffering of the government occasioned by this bad policy; its scrip and securities were depressed to a disgraceful point; even to more than thirty per cent. below par, besides its being at numerous times, forced temporarily to suspend payment.  Having emerged from the war, deeply in debt, suffering and smarting under the destructive policy that had been pertinaciously pursued, to the great injury of the people and the government, JAMES MADISON, then President of the United States, the eminent head of the party who had denied the constitutionality of a bank, had the magnanimity to yield his objections, and specially to recommend the creaton of a new bank.  The recommendation received the sanction of both branches of Congress; and thus, a second time, after this lapse of twenty-five years, a solemn desision was made on the question..  For twenty years the new bank had its run.  All was acquiescence under the eight years of Mr. Monroe's and the four years of Mr. Adams's administration.  Further, for a portion of Andrew Jackson's first term of four years, there was manifested little or no opposition either to the constitutionality
 or the expediency of the measure.

Now I ask if the direct sanction of Washington, and of Madison, and a majority of those associated with them in their administrations, together with the peaceable acquiescence of the two Adams', of Monroe, of Jackson, and the members of the government associated with them, is not pretty nearly as conclusive evidence of the constitutionality of the measure of a National Bank as can be desired, even by the most querulous?  If farther proof is wanted, I call attention to the fact, that the Supreme Federal Judiciary, the highest authority on such a question, has again and again, during a period of forty years, distinctly recognised and decided in favor of the constitutionality of the measure.  More than this, not a single member of this distinguished tribunal, numerous as have been its members, has ever ventured, officially, to call in question the authority of the government in the matter.  Under such circumstances, in view of all these facts, with what an ill grace is it set up by the politicians of the present day, that the creation of a National Bank is not within the powers of Congress?  Whence comes their light on the subject?  Are they intuitively wiser than all those who have preceded them?  Is all former usage and precedent wantonly to be thrown aside, rejected, and disregarded, as of no consideration, to sustain them in the accomplishment of their party ends?  Can nothing be considered settled and established, by usage, by the deliberate and solemn sanction of numerous successions of every branch of our government, because it may conflict with heated partizan views and objects?  For myself, I consider the opinion set up, at this late day, that a National Bank is unconstitutional, as wild and chimerical in the extreme; and really entitled to no higher consideration than would be the assertion, that it is not within the province of the people to elect a President to preside over the affairs of the nation.

Such has been the party clamor on the subject, so loud and sonstant have been the cries of unconstitutionality, that numerous friends of a bank cherish strong doubts whether the measure of creating one can be carried.  Possibly it may be so.  If it be, then is it time that the subject should be taken hold of in earnest, and fully discussed, until a sounder opinion is cherished.  I have not a tittle of doubt of the ultimate decision of the people.  They are too enlightened, and wise, to be lulled to sleep on a subject so vitally important to their interests.  If there is strong doubt on the subject, if it is seriously pretended that the government has not the legitimate power to create a bank, then, to make all sure, to put an end to all pragmatical carping, let an amendment to the constitution involving a final decision of the question, be at once brought before the people -- the issue of such a trial cannot fail to establish the soundness of the desision already made.  To some extent, thus far, there has been a holding back of opinion by the Whig party.  It has not unfrequently been charged upon them that they have been silent as to the great leading features of the policy they intend to have pursued; that they are secretly in favor of a national bank, but dare not avow their opinions.  Perhaps it has been so.  Sound policy may have dictated the withholding of a formal declaration of measures.  But now that the battle has been fought, and most gloriously won, it cannot be expected that no promulgation of what is intended, shall take place.  There must be "a showing of hands" -- the policy of the triumphant party must be openly developed and defended.  Sound policy demands that this should be done; that all those measures deemed important to the interests of the country, should be openly proclaimed and defended.  Of little value is any measure that will not stand the test of rigid scrutiny and examination.  If the dominant party sincerely believe that a national bank is demanded to meet the just wants of the people, let them say so in sober seriousness.  This point must, ultimately, be arrived at--there is no blinking the question; and the sooner it is manfully brought out and met, the better.  It is now too late to be "mealy-mouthed" upon the subject; and the only manly course is open, direct avowal.  That there will be violent and ingenious partizan opposition, no one can doubt..  Let it come.  It cannot prevail; for it must rest upon any thing rather than an enlightened regard to the true interests of the country.

In throwing out my views thus freely upon this great and important subject, I am perfectly aware that I lay myself open to attack; to volumes of vituperation and abuse.  The constitutionality of the measure will be flatly denied; its expediency questioned; and more particularly, beyond this, the details of my plan may become the subject of strong objection and severe criticism.  Very well; I care not for it;--nay, I rather desire it, for I wish that the measure contemplated should stand or fall upon its true merits.  Satisfied I am, that party feelings and views out of the question, the main objects I have in view will find favor with out intelligent community.

Touching the novel features of my plan, I am aware that it will be strongly urged that an institution of such magnitude must deeply endanger the liberties of the people; that it may control the government; and, to use the popular slang of the times, that it must operate to the great advantage of the rich, and to the depression of the interests of the poor.  I regard not such objections, for they may with equal justice be urged against any measure of policy which fails to provide for and build up a class of men in the community who rely rather upon the adventitious and favorable operations of the measures of our government, that upon energy, industry, and enterprise of character, which alone deserve success and command elevation.  Notwithstanding all the clamor that has heretofore been raised upon the subject of a national bank, it is by no means clear that a real opposition, founded on principle, to any considerable extent prevails.  It is not that the great mass of the people have felt that a bank was an evil, but rather has its existence been siezed upon as a convenient subject, out of which to make political capital.  Who, I ask, has at any time experienced that a national bank was oppressive or injurious to the interests of the country? It may have, and probably has, conflicted with the interests of the local banks of the States, inasmuch as it has so shaped its policy as to have kept them in check, and prevented their over issue; but I much doubt if there has been any palpable oppression, at any period of its action.  Individuals may have been disappointed in not having freely obtained, at all times, what they asked, but it is exceedingly doubtful if any man has ever met with harshness or abuse, or if any person has had any well founded cause of complaint.  If abuses have existed, as I doubt not in the least they have, they have consisted rather in granting large accommodations to some favored ones, than in any marked hostility to any man or set of men.

But, even admitting this to be so, admitting that there has been a wide departure from an impartial and equal diffusion of the benefits of the bank, it by no means follows that the policy of having a bank is bad.  If there were abuses in the old banks, the queston is, were they of such a nature as to admit of remedy:  And if they were, then they furnish no argument against the policy of having a bank.  On the whole, I have not a doubt on the subject.  I believe that though no bank can be established entirely free from objections, yet that such a one can be created as shall work well in the main, for the interests of the country.

Besides what I have said of the opposition that will probably rise up against a National Bank, however constituted, it may be expected that a large proportion of these persons now directly interested in the local banks of the States, and particularly the salaried officers of them, may array themselves against the measure; but numerous as is this class, it is small in comparison with the great body of the people; and with such a cause as they must espouse, their oppositon cannot prove very formidable.

It is proper that I should notice another class of opponents.  It is well known that there are very many persons, embracing highly practical men, who strongly insist that the having a great National Bank is investing and concentrating too great a power in the hands of a few; that it is impossible for a small number of men in each of our large cities and towns to understand the wants and deserts of the various aspirants for bank favors.  They hold that it is better to have numerous banks, with each a set of Directors, amounting in the aggregate to a large number of persons, than to intrust all to the control and management of a few; that, with many banks, the various classes and interests can be better understood and served.  The position is plausible, but at the same time I deem it unsound; for if the whole banking business of any one of our large cities were to be intrusted to one set of directors, as a matter of course, and of necessity, they would devise and adopt rules for the government of their conduct in the administration of the affairs of the bank, to cover the whole ground; so that no great partiality or injustice would be experienced.  It is to be taken into the estimate too, that in such a bank, as is proposed, there could exist no possible motive for favoritism, not even a tithe of the amount of that which has been known to be practised in our local banks.  What need, I ask, is there of twenty banks or more, with as many sets of directors and officers, in the city of Boston?  Does not every one know that, in many of them accommodations are extended to very few persons beyond the narrow circuit of their own directors and officers?  It is worthy of some consideration, too, that the aggregate amount of the business of banking could be accomplished with very slight expense, in comparison with what it now amounts to.  If twenty bank buildings, and twenty sets of officers, are necessary to conduct as many local bank establishments, is it not apparent that a very great saving might be made by concentrating the business of the whole into one, or a few banks?  The too liberal diffusion of bank institutions, and the consequent division of the amount of business to be transacted, of necessity, involves enormous expense.  If, by adopting a more economical system, a saving can be made, it will be a gain to the public.  Lessen the expenses of banking, diminish the number of officers employed to carry it on, and, to some extent, we remove the temptation and inducement to resort to illegal exactions for the object of making the business profitable.  The strongest plea, weak and insufficient as it is, that has been set up on the part of the banks, in justification of their violation of legal restraints, has been that "the business was poor," and that, "a strict conformity to law would make it not worth pursuing."  Let it perish then; for better is it that an exclusive privilege, granted by the government as a favor, professedly for the good of the public, should droop and die, than that it should be made the instrument of legalised wrong and extortion.

In recurring to the main features of the plan I have proposed, perhaps it will be said there is little novelty in them, that it is but revising the former institutions.  In a measure, I grant, it is so.  No new project, entitled to any consideration, can be devised, in which there shall not be found many of the prominent features of the two national banks we have had.  The chief points in which the plan I advocate, differ from the former ones, are the increased restrictions, which long experience has indicated as being essential, the comparative magnitude of the proposed institution, and, particularly, the provisions proposed to be introduced for a gradual, but sure increase of capital, aiming ultimately at what may be called a revolution in banks and banking in our country.  To this last point I attach no inconsiderable importance; for as to the existing system of local banks, it manifestly is of such a character as to fall far short of the ture wants of the people.  What with the slender and insecure foundation on which the local banks, to a vast extent, are based, their true nature and character, and the objects and principles which do and must govern in their administration, who, I ask, can, or ought to be satisfied with them?  They lack the essential attribute of safety to the public, besides being conducted for objects and ends, which involve a gross departure from the true system of banking.

True, the system exists; is in full operation, and the vast and diversified interests of the public, are so immediately and deeply connected with the banks, as to forbid any strong and sudden measures for their immediate extinction.  The banks cannot be killed at a blow.  Were it to be attempted and to prove successful, the immediate consequences could not fail of being highly disastrous to the public.  What then, it is asked, can be done?  On the one hand, it is deeply felt that the whole system is bad; that it is the very antipodes of what the true interests of the people demand; and, on the other, the utter impracticability of an immediate revolution in the matter, stares us in the face.  Everybody must be impressed with the importance of a change, with the fact that a vast improvement may be made; though to attempt it forcibly, might prove ruinous.  Under these circumstances, if a plan can be devised, the certain tendency of which will be to gradually mitigate the evil, and point to an ultimate extinction of it, a great good will be accomplished.  Indeed, I can percieve no beter course thatn can rationally be adopted.

Now as to one of the main features of the plan I propose, the object is gradually to get rid of the local banks.  The provision to increase the capital of the bank, periodically, is directly calculated to invite the withdrawal of investments in local banks, and to cause their transfer to the National institution.  In case of the adoption of my plan, there would exist the strongest motives and inducements for such a shift.  The temptation would be so great, both on the score of profit, and of safety, as to insure such a result as I have contemplated.

Every body knows that the investments in local banks, are, for the most part, made with a view of obtaining a reasonable per centage of interest for money, and for permanency and safety.  Are these objects attained by investments in local banks?  Has experience shown that any thing like steady and regular income, and security against loss or depreciation of stock, have been secured by such investments?  The answer is plain.  Bitter indeed, within the last few years, to many people, has been the result of a reliance upon the profitableness and stability of local banks.  Not only has there been a total failure of dividends, but in some cases there has been entire loss of the stock; and, in others, a depression of twenty-five, and even of seventy-five per cent, or more, from the par value.  The whole history of the local banks goes to show, in the main, that no certain dependence can be placed in them; that whether they so conduct as to sustain the par value of their stock, and earn and pay dividends equal to the legal rate of interest, is altogether matter of contingency; if affairs are prosperous and lucky, all is well; but if not, wo betide him who is obliged to rest his dependence upon them.  There is no fiction in this statement.  The average dividends of the banks in Boston, and of the market value of the same, together with the authentic history of the depressed and failed banks, completely demonstrate its correctness.  The same, and evern more, is true of the local banks in various other portions of our country.  Who, then, I reiterate, can, or ought to be satisfied with such a system?

Now, to my mind, it is most clear that if opportunity were afforded to those who desire and possess the means of investing their money in banks, they wouod eagerly embrace the right of investment in such an institution as I have described; that those possessing real capital, already invested in insecure and local banks, would gladly avail themselves of an opportunity to abstract it, and place it in an institution, which, from its nature, must be both profitable and permanently safe.  Who could, for a moment, hesitate?  Suppose a man had ten thousand dollars invested in a local bank; that his object was a permanent and safe investment for the benefit of his family, and that he felt his end was approaching; could he rest easy with such a disposition of his money?  Would he feel that it was reasonably secure?  And, would he not feel that in withdrawing it, and placing it in a great National institution, identified with the permanency and prosperity of the interests of the country, he would be acting the part of wisdom?  There can be no diversity of opinion on this subject.  Such an institution as I have proposed, so eminently calculated to afford a steady profit, with all its guards and restrictions against abuse, so intimately interwoven with the general prosperity of all our interests, could not fail of inducing the free, and eager investment of much of the capital that is now to be found in local banks.

Should such be the operation of the bank proposed, should it absorb to a large extent the spare capital of the country, is it not manifest that there would be an approximation, to say the least, to such a system of banking as is peculiarly demanded by the American people?  What we want is, a system of permanency; such an arrangement of bank powers and facilities as shall meet and answer the wants of the community.

I pass to the subject of the restrictions proposed to be instituted.  Some of them were in force under the old charters.  Others are novel, and rest for their support and defence upon what has been discovered to have been wanting in the old institutions.  Without expatiating upon them at length, I venture to say, they are such as are obviously needed to secure the accomplishment of the great ends of the institution.  Without them, a national bank could not fail of being the constant theme of the abuse and bitter opposition of all those who profess to be the guardians of the just rights and interests of the people.

The novel proposition, that all bank notes, whether genuine or spurious, should, at all times, be placed on a footing, as to their payment and redemption, I am aware, may meet with much opposition; but, I am firmly persuaded that the principle is founded in a just estimate of the rights and interests of the people, and that, if adopted, it would not be found to operate very injuriously to the interests of the banks.  On the other provisions and restrictions, I forbear to make any special comment, beyond what I have already said.  Most of them furnish on their face, with slight reflection upon their nature and tendency, reasonable proof of their fitness and adaptation to such an institution as is demanded by the wants of the country.

As I have before stated, I pretend not to have set forth a complete plan of a National Bank; I have merely made suggestions; and, as will be perceived, I have not attempted to furnish the form of a bill for a charter.  That must be the work of those who are deputed by the people to devise and frame laws for our government.  though I have proposed restrictions, and penalties for abuses, and for maladministration, I have not pointed out the manner of their enforcement.  Doubtless, many rules and restrictions, other than those I have named, may be found necessary to be imposed and established, in order to such a bank as is wanted.

To many the idea of an institution of the magnitude I propose, will be alarming; its power, and possible operation, will be greatly dreaded.  So far as such feeling may be founded in wisdom, I respect and honor it.  But the hasty deductions of limited experience, and, especially, of but a very partial investigation and analysis of the matter, in all its bearings, ought not to be decisive.  As at present advised, whatever may be urged by others, I see no bugbear in the scheme; no license afforded for oppression, or for the exercise of such an influence as would probably endanger and put at hazard the rights and interests of the people.  If the restrictions I have proposed, and the reservations of power to the government, are not amply sufficient for protection and safety, why, let them be increased and extended, in such a degree as to satisfy even the most scrupulous and fastidious.  With such restrictions as I have named, and others that may undoubtedly be suggested, I have no more fear of a national moneyed institution, however large and permanent, than of the delegation from period to period, of the power to manage and control the affairs of government; or than should be entertained of the total failure of all the crops of the earth, in consequence of such great and extraordinary changes in the atmosphere, as sometimes happen.

Where, I ask, is to be found on the part of those on whom is devolved the power and control of the institution, any temptation or inducement to improper conduct?  Most certainly, the motives to partiality and favoritism, so far as respects individuals or localities, can be sufficiently restrained.  To a greater extent than has ever been before required, the plan contemplates the publicity of all the affairs of the institution.  Whether the provisions I have suggested on this point, are sufficient for the accomplishment of the objects aimed at, is matter of deep interest and inquiry; for it is of the highest importance that all the affairs of the institution should be so open and fair, as to stand the test of the most rigid scrutiny.

The people being a party in interest in a National institution, and very deeply interested too, they have, upon every sound principle, a right to know the whole routine of its action.  This, it is true, is greatly at variance with the course that has been practised by the former national banks, and by the local ones; but it may well be questioned whether any thing has been gained by concealment of the true state of affairs, or whether any important hazard would be incurred by adopting a more liberal policy.  In ordinary cases, I can conceive of no possible objection to spreading far and wide the operations of a Bank; and though there may be occasions when an enlighteened policy may dictate the propriety and necessity of secrecy for a limited period, yet they cannot, in the nature of things, be of very frequent occurrence.

A word on the subject of the maganitude of the institution, and the danger of its becoming the engine of party.  On this point, most fortunately, we have had some experience.  I say fortunately, because just in proportion to the knowledge which the people have of abuses and bad tendencies that have existed in former institutions, will, and ought to be their solicitude to erect effectual barriers against their recurrence in future.  There should be no loophole for such an operation, no possible chance for its occurrence.  And, indeed, in the plan that is proposed, is there any opening for such an abuse?  Can the institution, composed and controlled as it is proposed it shall be, can it, or is it likely ever to be made the instrument of party?  There must, of necessity, always exist great contrariety of opinion, on political subjects, among the individuals owning the stock; and is it to be expected or apprehended, that, at any time, there will happen such a corrupt union of sentiment and opinion, among the corporators, bent only on entirely personal and selfish ends, as to jeopard or materially affect the political rights and interests of the people?  Even if such a policy should at any time be ventured upon, with the widely diffused knowledge of the doings of the institution, required to be constantly made, would there not be ample security found in the vigilance of the community against any very gross abuse of power?  I think there would; and, that the abuses that have already been experienced, instead of showing just cause of apprehension, must serve as beacon-lights to those who may be deputed to manage a National Bank hereafter.  The only gross usurpation that has ever been attempted, on the part of a National Bank, has been most signally put down.  On its occurrence, there sprang up a feeling of oppostion and hostility, which swept all before it; there was left no loop on which to hang a doubt; it was perceived that usurpation was attempted; that an influence, entirely foreign to the legitimate objects of the bank, was attempted to be exercised; and that  severe rebuke which might have been expected naturally to follow, was firmly and manfully determined on.  There can be no successful blinking of this feature of the history of the measures and policy of the friends of a National Bank.  Had they acted with common prudence, had they only sought the etablishment of a bank, upon fair principles, we should not have been left to deplore the unsound policy of hte government, which left us, in this particular, naked, and impotent, and unprepared to meet the wants of the community.

Of the proposed duration of the charter;--I have suggested twice as long a period as in each of the former cases was determined upon.  My aim in this is the permanency of the system.  Disastrous in the extreme have been the periods of the termination of the charters of our two national banks.  The liquidation of the affairs of any great banking institution, must, from its nature, always be attended with more or less of embarrassment to the various interests of the people, and the too frequent occurrence of such an event ought, if practicable, to be avoided.  Heretofore, under the systems of the national banks we have had, it has been urged with much plausibility, that as often as once in twenty years the incombents of the franchise should surrender their corporate rights and powers, to make roo
m for, or open the door for, the admission of a generation of men to the enjoyment and participation of the benefits they had for a long period enjoyed  Prima facie, the argument in support of the position would seem to be unanswerable; that justice and equity require a very liberal diffusion of the privilege.  But it will be perceived that by the plan proposed the alleged evil of a long continuance of a charter is effectually removed, inasmuch as it provides for the free and liberal admission  of new corporators, at short intervals, throughout the whole term of the proposed charter, who shall, from the day of their becoming shareholders, be placed on a perfect equality with those who may from the first, and at earlier periods, have participated in the benefits of the institution.

In conclusion, I have only to reiterate, that the remarks I have made, and the offering of a project for a National Bank, have been induced and called forth by a sincere belief that the subject is one of vast importance; that it merits the most thorough examination and discussion; that the more minds are brought to it, the greater is the probability of the adoption of a sound and wise plan; and that I cannot but hope a discrimnating public will, with great unanimity, eventually sanction a measure which is really so very important to the interests of the whole country.