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In Mr. John Quincy Adams' time, the Cherokee treaty, the nullification doctrine, the power of appointing public officers, and some others of less consequence, formed constitutional questions, with doubts yet undecided.

Add to all these legislative discussions, the many constitutional points that have arisen for judicial determination before the Supreme Court of the United States, and it will be manifest, that however ably a Constitution may be drawn up, it cannot be settled by allowing every individual, at any indefinite period of time, to put his construction upon it, or submitting it forever to the "analyzing, disputatious, captious, inquisitive, quibbling, hair-splitting spirit" of the age; but by consenting that what has been once fully debated, and deliberately settled, shall remain so, and doubt be renounced after repeated decision. Moreover, even in interpreting Constitutions, something must be allowed to reasonable discretion, as in the purchase of Louisiana; something like Gen. Jackson's attacking the Seminoles in Spanish Florida, and the proceedings of Commodore Porter in Cuba. A reasonable construction of the words and phrases, such as will be in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution, and fairly and substantially fulfil what is required by that instrument, is the only manly, common-sense interpretation, calculated to preserve it, and produce a lasting and salutary effect on the public mind.

To the first of these apologies for the United States' Bank, that though a corporation, it is necessary and proper as an incidental power to carry into effect express and enumerated powers, it is replied:

(a) No corporation whatever can be erected by Congress for any purpose general or special. Because, in the Convention, the power of instituting corporations, generally, was repeatedly brought forward, discussed and rejected: then the power of granting charters of incorporation was proposed in cases where the public good may require them, and the authority of a single State may be incompetent.* This also was rejected.

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"March 11, 1798. Baldwin mentions at table the following 'fact: When the Bank bill was under discussion in the House of 'Representatives, Judge Wilson came in, and was standing by Baldwin, who reminded him of the following fact which passed in the grand Convention. Among the enumerated powers given 'to Congress, was one to erect corporations. It was, on de'bate, struck out. Several particular powers were then proposed. Among others, Robert Morris proposed to give Congress

* Journal of Acts and Proceedings of the Convention, p. 260.

Governeur Morris op

a power to establish a National Bank. 'posed it; observing, that it was extremely doubtful whether 'the Constitution they were framing, could ever be passed at 'all by the people of America that to give it its best chance, 'however, they should make it as palatable as possible, and 'put nothing into it not very essential, that might raise up ene'mies; that his colleague (Robert Morris) well knew that a 'Bank was in their State (Pennsylvania) the very watch-word of a 'party; that a Bank had been the great bone of contention be'tween the two parties of the State, from the establishment of 'their Constitution, having been erected, put down, and erected ' again, as either party predominated; that, therefore, to insert 'this power, would instantly enlist against the whole instru'ment the whole of the Anti-Bank party of Pennsylvania. 'Whereupon, it was rejected, as was every other special power, 'except that of giving copy rights to authors, and patents to 'inventors; the general power of incorporating being whittled 'down to this shred. Wilson agreed to the fact."*-Jefferson's Works, vol. iv. p. 506.

The power of erecting corporations generally was proposed in Convention, and rejected.-Journals, p. 260.

The same power was proposed specially, and rejected.—Ib.

The two parties alluded to, were known by their modern names about the time of the Convention, or soon after, and denominated Federalists and Anti-Federalists; and they have ever since been known by these appellations. The characteristics of the two parties from the very beginning, was, what it has continued to be to the present day, still is, and probably ever will be.

The Federalists are those who strive to extend the power and authority of the Federal or General Government, and for this purpose, to stretch the phrases of the Constitution, by all means of plausible construction and implication; and to lessen the power and authority of the State Governments, so as to reduce them to subordinate municipalities under the control of one powerful, consolidated General Government. This party is, of course, in favour of incorporations, of banks, of im plied powers, of protecting duties, of internal improvements, of the American Sys tem, and of all kinds of unauthorized appropriations for charities and seminaries; unauthorized, that is, by any express enumeration in the Constitution. For all these governmental intermeddlings tend to render our Government, one and indivisible, and consolidated; approaching to the dazzling character of the great mouarchies of Europe.

The Anti-Federalists, dreading any approach to consolidation as being in effect an approach to monarchy and despotism, have been always opposed to latitudinarian interpretation; to any implied and constructive extension of the authority of the General Government; and desirous of confining it within the strict limits of the powers enumerated and expressed in the Constitution; construing the incidental powers, to mean those only, which are not merely proper and useful, but obviously necessary to carry into execution the enumerated powers, and not to be extended beyond that necessity. This party is, of course, opposed to the Bank of the United States, and many of them to banks generally. It was by the preponder ance of the Federal party, that the first Bank of the United States was carried; and General Washington was won over, slowly and reluctantly. For a description of the parties in Convention, see Luther Martin's Speech prefixed to Yates Secret Proceedings and Debates, p. 20.

A proposition was made to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one, to empower them to incorporate for this purpose. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons of rejection urged in the debate, was that they would, in such case, have a power to erect a Bank; which would render the great cities where there existed prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution.— Jefferson's Works, vol. iv. p. 525. Journ. of the Conv. pp. 375–6.

The Convention, then, having refused to grant the power of incorporating under every form in which it was proposed-having rejected as an end, what is now claimed as a means-the friends of an incorporated Bank hardly daring even to propose such an incorporation-with what reasonable pretence can the constitutionality of this measure be now argued? Can it be possible, that the advocates of a Bank should persuade themselves that this power is deducible from a Convention, wherein powers of incorporation were so obstinately refused and rejected, and wherein a Bank was deemed too obnoxious for its friends even to venture to propose it-so obnoxious, that if it were inserted, the reception of the whole Constitution would have been endangered? But it was proposed and rejected.

These considerations appear to furnish an answer to the first argument in support of the constitutionality of the Bank, absolutely conclusive. It is in the words of Montesquieu, "Reponse sans replique."

To these arguments may be added another, by no means sufficiently considered in this country. This is a confederated republic; the pervading principle is equality; equality of rights, equality of privileges, equality of burthens. Every Corporation is a monopoly, more or less valuable. It confers on some citizens, desirable privileges that others are not entitled to. What right have the representatives of a Republican people, whether in Convention, or in any other meeting or assembly, to create among our citizens any inequality whatever, as to rights or privileges, or to authorize its being done?

Oh! but it is paid for; the United States receive a premium, a bonus, a consideration!

We deny that the people can receive any thing like an equivalent for consenting to the principle of inequality. Nothing can be a remuneration; no money can pay them for this abandonment of republican maxims. Will they, like Esau, sell their birth-right for a mess of pottage? Then, consider the bargaining, the chaffering, the huckstering, the shopkeeping mode of settling this bonus or premium-the opening it affords to pecuniary speculation-to legislative caballing-the certainty in all cases,

that the wary, watchful, calculating monopolists, with their own interests as their ruling motive never lost sight of, will have the advantage of men neither specifically skilled in the object of sale, nor equally alert and alive when they have not their own interests, but the interest of others only to watch over.

How liable are they to pass over details apparently minute, but pregnant with remote consequences of portentous interest? Is it not matter of history, known to every reader, how grievously, how frequently, the honest members of the British House of Commons, Mr. Grenfell, Mr. Hume, Sir H. Parnell, &c. complain of the bargains made by that House with the Bank of England? Why should we open the same door here? Every argument, moreover, in favour of a banking monopoly, savours of the money-making spirit-l'esprit boutiquiere—there is nothing of the liberal and enlarged mind of the statesman in it; great principles are sacrificed to pecuniary advantages; it is a creature of the wealth-worshipping idolatry of the day, that threatens to convert us into a bargain-catching, speculating nation, represented in our legislatures not by high-minded, well informed statesmen, but by dealers and chapmen, and money-brokers. The aristocracy of wealth is acquiring a baneful predominance.

(b) It is argued, that the numerous, persevering, and long continued decisions, legislative and judicial, and the expositions in favour of the constitutionality of this institution, by the framers of the Constitution themselves and their contemporaries, ought to be considered as final and conclusive. This is the substance of the second and third arguments.

To this, we would reply, that Col. Hamilton, Robert Morris, Mr. Madison, &c. were, in the Convention, decided Federalists; favourers of a consolidated Government, approaching to a monarchy, and of reducing the State Governments down to the meanest of municipalities. We refer to the Journals of the Convention for this fact, which every one, who has read that book, knows to be true. Mr. Madison's changes of opinion render his authority of no weight.*

Mr. Madison's Speech against the Bank of the United States in 1791, as reported, thus concludes:

"It appeared on the whole, that the power exercised by the bill was "Condemned by the silence of the Constitution.

"Condemned by the rule of interpretation arising out of the Constitution. "Condemned by its tendency to destroy the main characteristic of the Consti

tution.

"Condemned by the expositions of the friends of the Constitution, whilst depending before the public.

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General Washington's sentiments on the Bank are not well known. At any rate, a few years after the passage of the Constitution, he had so far forgotten its history in the Convention, as to recommend a measure which had been three several times expressly proposed and rejected, viz: a National University.

But ten times the number of decisions would not weigh a feather in settling the constitutional difficulty, for the Constitution has itself prescribed the only mode in which constitutional doubts shall be settled, viz: by referring them to a Convention of the States, called for the purpose (Constitution, Art. V.) No legislature, no judiciary, no number of citizens, however respectable for talent or station, have a right to usurp the powers of a Convention, or to substitute their construction for the State's construction. In the mode and manner, and by like authority as the Constitution was framed, let it be construed and amended. A Convention of the States is alone competent to settle these constitutional difficulties, nor did the Convention refer them to the subordinate authorities, legislative or judicial. If a power be dubious, it cannot be exercised; quod dubitas ne feceris, is the rule. Your title to the exercise of authority, must be made out beyond contradiction, or you may not exercise it. It was twice proposed to submit controversies between the United States and a State (Journ. 265-278) to the Supreme Court, but rejected. I refer also to the opinions of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in Cobbett's case, reported 3 Dall.

Nor is it to be forgotten, that the Constitution, like the earth we live on, belongs not to the dead, but the living; by the same right that our ancestors judged for themselves, we may judge for our ownselves. Nor are we bound to our own detriment by their mistakes; nor precluded from profiting by the lessons of experience.

Nor is it to be forgotten, that objections to usurped jurisdiction are never out of time. No length of time can convert the power of building a cottage, into the power of building St. Peter's, at Rome. It is not true in this case, that forbearance one day, ought to become precedent the next, and a maxim inviolable and irreversible the third. It is not an argument that

"Condemned by the apparent intention of the parties which ratified the Consti

tution.

"Condemned by the explanatory amendments proposed by Congress themselves to the Constitution.

"And he hoped it would receive its final condemnation by the vote of the House." While Mr. Jefferson lived, Mr. Madison went right; his original anti-republican tendencies were suppressed, and he became an able and strenuous advocate for the people's rights. Since Mr. Jefferson's death, he has chosen to coalesce with men so many grades inferior to his own talents and standing, that we look at the change with surprise and regret.

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