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must be unavoidably fatal to any scheme which, from its extent, would promote the interests and elevate the character of the country. The experience of the past has shown that the opinion of Congress is subject to such fluctuations,
If it be the desire of the people that the agency of the ' federal government should be confined to the appropriation
of money in ảid of such undertakings, in virtue of state authorities, then the occasion, the manner, and the extent of the appropriations, should be made the subject of constitutional regulation. This is the more necessary, in order that they may be equitable among the several states; promote harmony between different sections of the Union and their representatives; preserve other parts of the constitution from being undermined by the exercise of doubtful powers, or the too great extension of those which are not 80; and protect the whole subject against the deleterious influence of combinations to carry by concert, measures which, considered by themselves, might meet but little countenance. That a constitutional adjustment of this power upon equitable principles is in the highest degree desirable, can scarcely be doubted; nor can it fail to be promoted by every sincere friend to the success of our political institutions. In no government are appeals to the source of power, in cases of real doubt, more suitable than in ours.
No good motive can be assigned for the exercise of power by the constituted authorities, while those for whose benefit it is to be exercised have not conferred it, and may not be willing to confer it. It would seem to me that an honest application of the conceded powers
of the general government to the advancement of the common weal, presents a sufficient scope to satisfy a reasonable ambition. The difficulty and supposed impracticability of obtaining an amendment of the constitution in this respect, is, I firmly believe, in a great degree unfounded. The time has never yet been when the patriotism and intelligence of the American people were not fully equal to the greatest exigency; and it never will, when the subject, calling forth their interposition is plainly presented to them. To do so with the questions involved in this bill, and to urge them to an early, zealous, and full consideration of
very different from mine. This policy, like every other, must abide the will of the people, who will not be likely to allow any device, however specious, to conceal its character and tendency.
In presenting these opinions, I have spoken with the freedom and candor which I thought the occasion for their expression called for; and now respectfully return the bill which has been under consideration, for your further deliberation and judgment.
JACKSON'S BANK VETO.
July 10, 1832. To the Senate :
The bill to “modify and continue" the act entitled “ An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States," was presented to me on the 4th of July instant. Having considered it with that solemn regard to the principles of the constitution which the day was calculated to inspire, and come to the conclusion that it ought not to become a law, I herewith return it to the Senate, in which it originated, with my objections..
A Bank of the United States is in many respects convenient for the government and useful to the people. Entertaining this opinion, and deeply impressed with the belief that some of the powers and privileges possessed by the existing bank are unauthorized by the constitution, subversive of the rights of the states, and dangerous to the liberties of the people, I felt it my duty, at an early period of my administration, to call the attention of Congress to the practicability of organizing an institution combining all its advantages, and obviating these objections. I sincerely regret, that in the act before me, I can perceive none of those modifications of the bank charter which are necessary, in my opinion, to make it compatible with justice, with sound policy, or with the constitution of our country.
The present corporate body, denominated the President,
Directors, and Company of the Bank of the United States, will have existed, at the time this act is intended to take effect, twenty years. It enjoys. an exclusive privilege of banking, under the authority of the general government, a monopoly of its favor and support, and, as a necessary consequence, almost a monopoly of the foreign and domestic exchange. The powers, privileges, and favors bestowed upon it, in the original charter, by increasing the value of the stock far above its par value, operated as a gratuity of many millions to the stockholders. An apology may be found for the failure to guard against this result, in the consideration that the effect of the original act of incorporation could not be certainly foreseen at the time of its passage. The act before me proposes another gratuity to the holders of the same stock, and, in many cases, to the same men, of at least seven millions more. This donation finds no apology in any uncertainty as to the effect of the act. On all hands it is conceded that its passage will increase, at least, twenty or thirty per cent. more, the market price of the stock, subject to the payment of the annuity of $200,000 per year secured by the act; thus adding, in a moment, one fourth to its par value. It is not our own citizens only who are to receive the bounty of our government. More than eight millions of the stock of this bank are held by foreigners. By this act, the American republic proposes virtually to make them a present of some millions of dollars. For these gratuities to foreigners, and to some of our own opulent citizens, the act secures no equivalent whatever. They are the certain gains of the present stockholders under the operation of this act, after making full allowance for the payment of the bonus. Every monopoly, and all exclusive privileges, are granted at the expense of the public, which ought to receive a fair equivalent. The many millions which this act proposes to bestow on the stockholders of the existing bank, must come directly or indirectly out of the earnings of the American people. It is due to them, therefore, if their government sell monopolies and exclusive privileges, that they should at least exact for them as much as they are worth in open market. The value of the monopoly in - +
this case may be correctly ascertained. The twenty-eight millions of stock would probably be at an advance of fifty per cent., and command in the market at least forty-two millions of dollars, subject to the payment of the present bonus. The present value of the monopoly, therefore, is seventeen millions of dollars, which this act proposes to sell for three millions, payable in fifteen annual instalments of $200,000 each. It is not conceivable how the present stockholders can have any claim to the special favor of the government. The present corporation has enjoyed its monopoly during the period stipulated in the original contract. If we must have such a corporation, why should not the government sell out the whole stock, and thus secure to the people the full market value of the privileges granted! Why should not Congress create and sell twenty-eight millions of stock, incorporating the purchasers with all the powers and privileges secured in this act, and put the premium upon the sales into the treasury? But this act does not permit competition in the purchase of this monopoly. It seems to me predicated on the erroneous idea that the present stockholders have a prescriptive right not only to the favor, but to the bounty of government. It appears that more than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners, and the residue is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class. For their benefit does this act exclude the whole American people from competition in the purchase of this monopoly, and dispose of it for many millions less than it is worth. This seems the less excusable, because some of our citizens, not now stockholders, petitioned that the door of competition might be opened, and offered to take a charter on terms much more favorable to the government and country. But this proposition, although made by men whose aggregate wealth is believed to be equal to all the private stock in the existing bank, has been set aside, and the bounty of our government is proposed to be again bestowed on the few who have been fortunate enough to secure the stock, and at this moment wield the power of the existing institution. I cannot perceive the justice or policy