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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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670. BANK (U. S.), Regulation of.—
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670. BANK (U. S.), Regulation of.—

The Attorney General having considered and
decided that the prescription in the law for
establishing a bank, that the officers in the
subordinate offices of discount and deposit,
shall be appointed “on the same terms and
in the same manner practiced in the principal
bank,” does not extend to them the principle
of rotation, established by the Legislature in
the body of directors in the principal bank,
it follows that the extension of that principle
has been merely a voluntary and prudential
act of the principal bank, from which they
are free to depart. I think the extension was
wise and proper on their part, because the
Legislature having deemed rotation useful in
the principal bank constituted by them, there
would be the same reason for it in the subordinate
banks to be established by the principal.
It breaks in upon the esprit de corps so apt to prevail in permanent bodies: it
gives a chance for the public eye penetrating
into the sanctuary of those proceedings and
practices, which the avarice of the directors
may introduce for their personal emolument,
and which the resentments of excluded directors,
or the honesty of those duly admitted,
might betray to the public; and it gives an
opportunity at the end of the year, or at
other periods, of correcting a choice, which,
on trial, proves to have been unfortunate: an
evil of which themselves complain in their
distant institutions. Whether, however, they
have a power to alter this, or not, the Executive
has no right to decide: and their consultation
with you has been merely an act of
complaisance, or a desire to shield so important
an innovation under the cover of executive
sanction. But ought we to volunteer
our sanction in such a case? Ought we to
disarm ourselves of any fair right of animadversion,
whenever that institution shall
be a legitimate subject of consideration? I
own, I think the most proper answer would
be, that we do not think ourselves authorized
to give an opinion on the question.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 518. Ford ed., viii, 284.
(W. 1803)