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1869,

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PART II.

THE NATIONAL BANKING LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, WITH NOTES AND REFERENCES TO THE DECISIONS

OF THE COURTS AND OPINIONS OF THE

ATTORNEYS GENERAL THEREON.

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.

The necessities of the Government, created by the great Rebellion, brought into operation many powers conferred upon Congress by the Constitution, which until that time had rarely or never been exercised, and new and extraordinary legislation relating to the finances and financial condition of the country was enacted in order to supply the wants of the national Government.

Previously to the year 1863 Congress had never interfered with the banks of issue created by the several States, except in 1813 to levy, temporarily, a small stamp tax on the notes of banks and bankers for the purpose of revenue, and in 1862 to prohibit all corporations and individuais from issuing notes of a fractional part of a dollar.

In 1836 an act was passed providing that State banks conveniently located might be selected as depositories of public money, upon certain conditions therein prescribed: one of which was, that no bank so selected should issue bills of less denomination than five dollars. The "independent treasury system,” established by the acts of July 4, 1840, and August 6, 1846, superseded the employment of State banks as depositories.

At the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States four State banks were in existence, one in each of the States of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, and the number went on increasing, until, in the year 1863, there were more than one thousand five hundred in the different States, each subject to the laws of the State by which it was incorporated, but substantially independent of any legislation of Congress.

Congress twice chartered a bank of the United States, first in 1791 and again in 1816, but when the charter expired in 1836 it was not renewed, and Congress never after

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