Page:American History Told by Contemporaries, v2.djvu/633

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No. 210]
Confederation — The Bank

210. The Bank of North America (1782)

This piece is a circular sent out by the head of the treasury to the governors of the states. The bank was one of Morris s favorite devices for strengthening the credit of the United States.— For Morris, see No. 194 above. — Bibliography of the bank : Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, VII, 81; W. G. Sumner, Financier and Finances ; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 142.
Office of Finance, January 8th, 1782. . . .

I HAVE the honor to transmit herewith an ordinance passed by the United States in Congress assembled the 31st day of December, 1781, incorporating the subscribers of the Bank of North America, together with sundry resolutions recommending to the several States to pass such laws as they may judge necessary for giving the said ordinance its full operation. The resolutions of the 26th of May last speak so clearly to the points necessary to be established by those laws, that I need not enlarge on them. Should anything more be found necessary upon experience, the President and Directors will no doubt make suitable applications to Congress, or to the States respectively, as the case may require.

It affords me great satisfaction to inform you that this Bank commenced its operations yesterday, and I am confident that with proper management, it will answer the most sanguine expectations of those who befriend the institution. It will facilitate the management of the finances of the United States. The several States may, when their respective necessities require, and the abilities of the bank will permit, derive occasional advantages and accommodations from it. It will afford to the individuals of all the States a medium for their intercourse with each other, and for the payment of taxes more convenient than the precious metals, and equally safe. It will have a tendency to increase both the internal and external commerce of North America, and undoubtedly will be infinitely useful to all the traders of every State in the Union, provided, as I have already said, it is conducted on principles of equity, justice, prudence, and economy. The present directors bear characters, which cannot fail to inspire confidence, and as the corporation is amenable to the laws, power can neither sanctify any improper conduct, nor protect the guilty. . . .

Jared Sparks, editor, The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (Boston, 1830), XII, 76-77.