James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 16 December 1800

From James Monroe

Richmond 16. Decr. 1800.

Dear Sir

I shod. have written you on friday but had nothing to communicate, nor indeed have I at present, unless the equal & unanimous vote of So. Carolina for Mr. Jefferson & Burr be so. It is understood that No. C. voted as we always heard she wod. that is 8. for J. & B. 4. for A. & P.; of Georgia, Tenessee & Kentuckey we know nothing, nor do we of the Eastern States. I think it probable the vote for Mr. J. & B. will be equal. Colo. Newton of Norfolk calld to ask our opinion the day you left town, on the propriety of instituting a bank of 1.000.000. of dolrs. under the auspices of the State at Richmond, with branches at Norfolk & Stanton or Winchester, the State to subscribe 400.000 dolrs.1 He says the bank at Norfolk overwhelms all not its creatures—that the deposit is 150.000. and that it makes for the UStates a clear profit of 20.000 pr. quarter. He thinks it wod. be of immense utility in many ways considering the UStates have banks, & furnish a fund to purchase arms for the State. Tell me what you think of this. Our best respects to Mrs. Madison. Yr. friend & servt

Jas. Monroe

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers).

1The Bank of Alexandria, chartered in 1792, and the Norfolk branch of the Bank of the United States, established in 1799, were the sole banking facilities in Virginia in 1800. The “project suggested by Col. Newton of a State Bank as an antidote to the partialities of the Natl. Bank,” as JM wrote Monroe on 27 Dec. 1800, was not completed until the opening of the Bank of Virginia in 1804. The bank was a mixed public and private corporation in which one-fifth of the initial capitalization (or $300,000) was reserved for purchase by the state and over which the Virginia legislature exerted partial control. The central bank was in Richmond, with branches in Norfolk, Petersburg, and Fredericksburg. Its first president was Abraham Venable (Charles E. Wynes, “Banking in Virginia, 1789–1820,” Essays in History, 4 [1957]: 37–41).

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