James Madison Papers

D’Alembert Thorntone to James Madison, 20 April 1834

April 20, 1834.

My dear Sir,

Our Country still bleeds at every pore—The Constitution and Laws violated with impunity—The Treasury laid open and scattered Abroad, without controul, without protection! The Voice of the People slighted and treated with contempt! The Redeeming Power, Congress, rendered Venal, by Corruption, thro’ the Post-Office, in Packing the Representative Chamber; thus rendering every effort abortive, to bring to Trial, the Perpetrators of these foul deeds.

Can you, my dearest Sir, be supine, can you be inactive, at a Crisis, awful like this?

The State of Virginia looks up to you; she is still divided, in consequence of your holding the opinion, "that the National Bank is not a Constitutional, but merely a necessary, or politick Measure, growing out of a Deranged Currency."

After the simple & plain Suggestions, on this Head, communicated in my two former Letters, to you, Permit me to ask, Do you yet entertain the same Views you did, in your Communication, to one of the Messrs. Ingersolls? If not, why hesitate to make a correcting Communication thro’ the same channel?

I do, my dear Sir, fearlessly, challenge any Statesman, to refute the Position I have taken, in these two Communications, as to the Constitutionality of a National Bank.

Will you suffer, for a moment, the suspicion, that pride prevents you to correct the Error? A Soul magnanimous like your’s would spurn the charge. Yes, this noble inmate of your breast, when dropping its Clay tenement, and winging its flight upwards, must aspirate

xx in that moment,

As in all the Past,

"Oh! save my Country,

Heav’n!" will be your last.

With affectionate regard I remain, respectfully, your fellow-Citizen,

D’Alembert Thorntone.

P. S. The Banking=System, is a Commercial Measure. In the hands of the State Legislatures, it is Corrupting and destroying Labor, the only wealth of the Nation. Therefore, at as early a date as practicable, the States ought to relinquish this Measure, and leave it in possession of the National Legislature. As to the present Executive attempting to correct the Error, he lacks capacity—and his advisers are too unprincipaled, honestly to serve their Country.

It may not be amiss to say, that I am not a Stock holder in the U. States Bank, nor have I been, direct or indirect, these ten years past. But am the Son of a Revolutionary Character, who was ruined by what was called "The Continental Currency"—which will ever remain a foul blot, ne’er to be obliterated, from our Financial History.


1. I deem this Charge fully established, from the public confession, of Forsythe, McKim, Rives & others, "That they were Pledged to the Administration"! What, Sirs! pledged in violation of your Oath, to support the Constitution! This their Confession was made, after they knew the Constitution & Laws were violated, by the Removal of the Treasury, by the President!


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