James Madison Papers

Charles J. Ingersoll to James Madison, 21 January 1831

Harrisburgh Jany 21/31

Dear Sir

Serving as a Member of the Legislature here my attention is much called to the subject of banks always in great numbers urging for acts of incorporation. In the Federalist No. 44 your judgment is pronounced I may say with uncommon force against all state contrivances to make currency, and my impression has always been that whether they consist of coin or paper the province altogether and exclusively belongs to the Union. A sentiment of Mr. Jefferson’s of this kind, if I am not mistaken, which I have heard Mr. Dallas when your Sec. of the Treasury ascribe to him, seems to me to what Genl Jackson has got hold of in his suggestion of a federal money making faculty other than that of a bank of the US; that is, whether an incorporated bank or a Treasury bank, still a bank of the Union. My notion is that the whole power is exclusively federal, and that it is a question of mere federal expediency whether that power shall be exercised in the creation of an incorporated bank of stockholders, or in a Treasury creation of currency, without a bank; and that at any rate the States have no authority to establish paper currency banks notwithstanding their practice of doing so ever since soon after the federal constitution. With this intimation of my humble opinion, and always anxious to be governed by your Judgment will you suffer me to ask the favour of it on the several positions 1. whether there is any state power to make paper banks, 2. whether the federal power is best exercised in such banks of the U S as the former and present, or such as the President suggests as preferable to those institutions

I offer the assurances of constant and most respectful consideration

C J Ingersoll

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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