Page:Writings of Thomas Jefferson, III, IV.djvu/179

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Official Papers
Opinion against the constitutionality of a National Bank.
February 15, 1791.

The bill for establishing a National Bank undertakes among other things:—

  1. To form the subscribers into a corporation.
  2. To enable them in their corporate capacities to receive grants of land; and so far is against the laws of Mortmain.[1]
  3. To make alien subscribers capable of holding lands; and so far is against the laws of alienage.
  4. To transmit these lands, on the death of a proprietor, to a certain line of successors; and so far changes the course of Descents.
  5. To put the lands out of the reach of forfeiture or escheat; and so far is against the laws of Forfeiture and Escheat.
  6. To transmit personal chattels to successors in a certain line; and so far is against the laws of Distribution.
  7. To give them the sole and exclusive right of banking under the national authority; and so far is against the laws of Monopoly.
  8. To communicate to them a power to make laws paramount to the laws of the States; for so they must be construed, to protect the institution from
  1. Though the Constitution controls the laws of Mortmain so far as to permit Congress itself to hold land for certain purposes, yet not so far as to permit them to communicate a similar right to other corporate bodies.