Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/76

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

and if the public in certain States would neither construct roads nor permit corporations to construct them, the entire Union must suffer for want of com­munication. So strong was the popular prejudice against paying for the privilege of travelling on a highway that in certain States, like Rhode Island and Georgia, turnpikes were long unknown, while in Vir­ginia and North Carolina the roads were little better than where the prejudice was universal.

In this instance the economy of a simple and some­what rude society accounted in part for indifference; in other cases, popular prejudice took a form less easily understood. So general was the hostility to Banks as to offer a serious obstacle to enterprise. The popularity of President Washington and the use­fulness of his administration were impaired by his support of a national bank and a funding system. Jefferson's hostility to all the machinery of capital was shared by a great majority of the Southern peo­ple and a large minority in the North. For seven years the New York legislature refused to charter the first banking company in the State; and when in 1791 the charter was obtained, and the Bank fell into Federalist hands, Aaron Burr succeeded in obtaining banking privileges for the Manhattan Company only by concealing them under the pretence of furnishing a supply of fresh water to the city of New York.

This conservative habit of mind was more harmful in America than in other communities, because Amer­icans needed more than older societies the activity