CHAPTER XXI
THE IMPLIED POWERS

NOT only were the funding and assumption bills opposed by Madison, but Hamilton's bank bill also. It came before Congress, February 2, 1791, and was promptly passed by the Senate. In the House, however, it met with a well-managed opposition of which Madison was the body and soul.* In the course of the debate Elbridge Gerry described him as the original stock from which all other arguments were grafts. "If the trunk fell, its appendages must fall also," he said; so the forces in favour of the bill concentrated their efforts against him. He thought it undesirable that there should be one great bank in America, as there was in England where the object was to concentrate wealth in London. Such an institution would banish the precious metals from use, substituting other mediums to perform their office, and individuals might suffer grievously if there should ever be a run on the bank. But his chief argument against the bank was that the Constitution did not warrant its creation. Certain rules should be observed in construing that instrument. It could not properly be so interpreted as to destroy the nature of the Government. When its meaning was clear it must be interpreted without regard to the consequences which might follow; but when its meaning was doubtful the consequences should be considered. In controversies over its meaning the intention of the framers was a proper guide, if it could be ascertained, and concurrent and contemporary expositions were reasonable evidence of the intention. In admitting or rejecting constructive

____________________
*
Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., 1895, et seq.

-201-

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