Philadelphia, February 16, 1791


An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States is now before me for consideration.

The constitutionality of it is objected to. It therefore becomes more particularly my duty to examine the ground on which the objection is built. As a means of investigation, I have called upon the Attorney-General of the United States, in whose line it seemed more particularly to be, for his official examination and opinion. His report is, that the Constitution does not warrant the act. I then applied to the Secretary of State for his sentiments on this subject. These coincide with the Attorney-General’s; and the reasons for their opinions having been submitted in writing, I now require, in like manner, yours on the validity and propriety of the above-recited act; and, that you may know the points on which the Secretary of State and the Attorney-General dispute the constitutionality of the act, and that I may be fully possessed of the arguments for and against the measure, before I express any opinion of my own, I give you an opportunity of examining and answering the objections contained in the enclosed papers. I require the return of them when your own sentiments are handed to me (which I wish may be as soon as is convenient); and further, that no copies of them be taken, as it is for my own satisfaction they have been called for.



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