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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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668. BANK (U. S.), Hostility to U. S. Government.—
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668. BANK (U. S.), Hostility to U. S. Government.—

This institution is one of the
most deadly hostility existing, against the
principles and form of our Constitution. The
nation is, at this time, so strong and united
in its sentiments, that it cannot be shaken at
this moment. But suppose a series of untoward
events should occur, sufficient to bring
into doubt the competency of a republican
government to meet a crisis of great danger,
or to unhinge the confidence of the people in
the public functionaries: an institution like
this, penetrating by its branches every part of
the Union, acting by command and in
phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the
government. I deem no government safe
which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted
authorities, or any other authority
than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries.


Page 71
What an obstruction could not this Bank of the United States, with all its branch
banks, be in time of war? It might dictate
to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw
its aids. Ought we then to give further
growth to an institution so powerful, so
hostile? That it is so hostile we know: 1,
from a knowledge of the principles of the
persons composing the body of directors in
every bank, principal or branch; and those of
most of the stockholders; 2, from their opposition
to the measures and principles of the
government, and to the election of those
friendly to them; and 3, from the sentiments
of the newspapers they support. Now, while
we are strong, it is the greatest debt we owe
to the safety of our Constitution, to bring its
powerful enemy to a perfect subordination
under its authorities. The first measure
would be to reduce them to an equal footing
only with other banks, as to the favors of the
government. But, in order to be able to meet
a general combination of the banks against
us, in a critical emergency, could we not
make a beginning towards an independent use
of our own money, towards holding our own
bank in all the deposits where it is received,
and letting the treasurer give his draft or
note, for payment at any particular place,
which, in a well-conducted government, ought
to have as much credit as any private draft,
or bank note, or bill, and would give us the
same facilities which we derive from the
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 519. Ford ed., viii, 284.
(W. Dec. 1803)