Alexander Hamilton Papers

Outline of a Charter for the Bank of New York, [23 February–15 March 1784]

Outline of a Charter for the Bank of New York1

[New York, February 23–March 15, 1784]2

Plan for the Incorporation of a Bank

1st: The Stile of the Bank to be “The Bank of New-York.”
2. The Capital Stock not to Exceed 1,000,000 Dollars; each Share consisting of 500 Dollars.
3. The Subscribers to Elect on the 2d. Monday of May, in each year thirteen Directors to Conduct the Affairs of the Bank, who shall be authorised to Chuse a President; the Mode of Election to be determined by a Majority of the Stockholders.
4. Two permanent Officers of the State, together with the Treasurer to be appointed by the Government as Inspectors of the Bank; who shall at all Times have free Access to its Books, Papers and Deliberations.
5th: In Case the United States should think proper to deposit any Part of their Funds in the Bank, The Commissioners of the Treasury to have the like Inspection, as specified in the preceding Article.
6th. One Fifth of the Actual Stock of the Bank to be always let out on landed Security to the Several Counties of the State, according to such Quotas, and in such manner as the Legislature shall appoint; the Sums lent to be paid by Installments in four years with lawful Interest. The Interest for the first Year to be deducted at the Time of Advancing the money: The Bank to be Judge of the Sufficiency of the Security.
7th. The Bank to make all Payments in Gold or Silver Coin or Bank Notes, at the Election of the Receiver, and not to be obliged to Receive any other Species of money.
8th. If at any Time the Dividend of the Bank should Exceed Eight per Cent; the Surplus to be added to the Capital in Proportion to the Shares held by each Subscriber; and this Surplus to be also lent on landed Security, in addition to the one Fifth Part of the Stock, as Specified in the 6th. Article, and on the Same Conditions.
9th. The Bank never to Engage in Trade.
10th. The Charter to be in Force for Fifteen Years.

D, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1The officers of the Bank of New York (see “Constitution of the Bank of New York,” February 23–March 15, 1784) were enjoined by its constitution to apply to the legislature for incorporation. The application was accordingly made (H to John B. Church, March 10, 1784), and was read in the Senate on March 18 (New York Senate Journal description begins Journal of the Senate of the State of New York (Publisher and place vary, 1782–1786). description ends , 1784, 63).

Although this document, like the “Constitution of the Bank of New York,” has been attributed to H, there is no evidence, apart from the copy in an unidentified handwriting which is in his papers in the Library of Congress, that he was the author. The New York Assembly Journal description begins Journal of the Assembly of the State of New York (Publisher and place vary, 1782–1786). description ends , 1784, 27, records the receipt of a petition from H, but this was doubtless a petition requesting that he be granted state securities in exchange for continental certificates. See “Petition to the New York Legislature,” February 4, 1784.

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