James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 17 April 1804

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Apr 17. 04.

Dear Sir

I recieved yesterday your letter of the 12th. and now return the letters it covered. I recieved also thro’ mr Gallatin, Govr. Claiborne’s information to you that he had chartered a state bank at N. Orleans.1 As the act of Congress for a bank there,2 & the Charter of the Bank of the US. renders Claiborne’s charter a nullity, he should revoke it on that ground, as given before information was recieved of the act of Congress. I imagine this notification to him must go officially from you.3 The extreme situation of my daughter renders me incapable of adding more than my affectionate salutns.

Th: Jefferson

FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). FC is a letterpress copy.

1Gallatin sent Jefferson a copy of a letter from Claiborne to JM (probably that of 16 Mar. 1804 [second letter], PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:594–95). In the accompanying letter Gallatin expressed his annoyance at what he considered Claiborne’s abuse of power in granting a bank charter, which he attributed to the influence of Edward Livingston (Gallatin to Jefferson, 12 Apr. 1804, in Adams, Writings of Gallatin, 1:184–85).

2Jefferson here referred to “An Act supplementary to the act, intituled ‘An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States,’” 23 Mar. 1804, which authorized the president and directors of the Bank of the United States to establish branch banks “in any part of the territories or dependencies” of the U.S. (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:274).

3On 17 Apr. 1804 Jefferson wrote privately to Claiborne that in light of the recent law authorizing the Bank of the United States to establish a branch at New Orleans and the prohibition of any other federal bank there, “your act therefore & charter being against this must be a nullity” (Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:225–26).

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