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wards enacted a law for the incorporation of banks, except some local banks in the District of Columbia, over which it has exclusive jurisdiction, until the passage of the act of February 25, 1863, entitled "An act to provide a national currency secured by a pledge of United States stocks, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof."
In order to introduce some changes in the law this act was the next year repealed, and a substitute enacted June 3, 1864, entitled "An act to provide a national currency secured by a pledge of United States bonds, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof;" which, with the amendments thereto, is printed in the following pages.
Under the operation of these laws and the 9th section of the act of July 13, 1866, and the 2d section of the act of March 26, 1867, taxing the notes of State banks and of towns, cities, municipal corporations, and individuals, used for circulation, nearly all the State banks have been converted into national banks or gone out of existence, and those few which remain have ceased to issue notes for circulation, finding it unprofitable to do so.
All paper money has disappeared from circulation, except United States legal-tender notes and national bank notes.
The number of national banks is now a little more than one thousand nine hundred, issuing their notes to the amount of about three hundred and forty millions of dollars.
AN ACT TO PROVIDE A NATIONAL CURRENCY SECURED BY A PLEDGE OF UNITED
STATES BONDS, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE CIRCULATION AND REDEMPTION
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives Currency Bureau. of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be established in the Treasury Department a separate bureau, which shall be charged with the execution of this and all other laws that may be passed by Congress respecting the issue and regulation of a national currency secured by United States bonds.
The chief officer of the said bureau shall be denominated Comptroller of the Comptroller of the Currency, and shall be under the Currency. general direction of the Secretary of the Treasury. He shall be appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall hold his office for the term of five years unless sooner removed by the President, upon reasons to be communicated by him to the Senate; he shall receive an annual salary of five thousand dollars;
He shall have a competent deputy, appointed by the Sec- Deputy Compretary, whose salary shall be two thousand five hundred troller. dollars, and who shall possess the power and perform the duties attached by law to the office of Comptroller during a vacancy in such office and during his absence or inability.
He shall employ, from time to time, the necessary clerks Clerks. to discharge such duties as he shall direct, which clerks shall be appointed and classified by the Secretary of the Treasury in the manner now provided by law.
Within fifteen days from the time of notice of his appoint- Oath and bond of ment the Comptroller shall take and subscribe the oath of Comptroller.
office prescribed by the Constitution and laws of the United States; and he shall give to the United States a bond in the penalty of one hundred thousand dollars, with not less than two responsible sureties, to be approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, conditioned for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office.
The Deputy Comptroller so appointed shall also take the oath of office prescribed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and shall give a like bond in the penalty of fifty thousand dollars.
The Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller shall not, either directly or indirectly, be interested in any association issuing national currency under the provisions of this act.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Comptroller of the Currency, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, shall devise a seal, with suitable inscriptions, for his office, a description of which, with a certificate of
approval by the Secretary of the Treasury, shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State with an impression thereof, which shall thereupon become the seal of office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the same may be renewed when necessary. Every certificate, assignment, and conveyance executed by the Comptroller, in pursuance of any authority conferred on him by law, and sealed with his seal of office, shall be received in evidence in all places and courts whatsoever; and all copies of papers in the office of the Comptroller, certified by him and authenticated by the said seal, shall in all cases be evidence equally and in like manner as the original. An impression of such seal directly on the paper shall be as valid as if made on wax or wafer.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That there shall be assigned to the Comptroller of the Currency by the Secretary of the Treasury suitable rooms in the Treasury Building for conducting the business of the Currency Bureau, in which shall be safe and secure fire-proof vaults, in which it shall be the duty of the Comptroller to deposit and safely keep all the plates not necessarily in the possession of engravers or printers, and other valuable things belonging to his department; and the Comptroller shall from time to time
Rooms for office, vaults, &c.
furnish the necessary furniture, stationery, fuel, lights, and other proper conveniences for the transaction of the said business.
UNITED STATES BONDS DEFINED.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the term “United Definition of Uni
ted States bonds States bonds," as used in this act, shall be construed to
as used in this mean all registered bonds now issued, or that may here- act. after be issued, on the faith of the United States by the Secretary of the Treasury, in pursuance of law.
BANKS, HOW FORMED.
tions, how formed.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That associations for Banking associacarrying on the business of banking may be formed by any number of persons, not less in any case than five, who shall enter into articles of association, which shall specify in general terms the object for which the association is formed, and may contain any other provisions, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, which the association may see fit to adopt for the regulation of the business of the association and the conduct of its affairs, which said articles shall be signed by the persons uniting to form the association, and a copy of them forwarded to the Comptroller of the Currency, to be filed and preserved in his office.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That the persons uniting Organization cer to form such an association shall, under their hands, make tificates. an organization certificate, which shall specify
First. The name assumed by such association, which name shall be subject to the approval of the Comptroller.
Second. The place where its operations of discount and
1. There is no limit to the aggregate amount of capital of banks which may be organized under this act. (Opinions of Attorneys General, vol. 11, page 334.)
Any number of banks may be organized, with any amount of capital, not less to each bank than the minimum specified in section 7. But each bank must deposit bonds with the Treasurer of the United States, as required by section 16, whether it obtains circulation or not. And the aggregate circulation of currency notes 'is limited to $354,000,000. (See section 22, and note 9.)
There is no limit to the aggregate circulation of gold notes. (See Act of July 12, 1870, chapter 252, sections 3, 4, 5,
-to be acknon) edged.
deposit are to be carried on, designating the State, Terri. tory, or District, and also the particular county and city, town, or village.
Third. The amount of its capital stock, and the number of shares into which the same shall be divided.
Fourth. The names and places of residence of the shareholders, and the number of shares held by each of them.
Fifth. A declaration that said certificate is made to enable such persons to avail themselves of the advantages of this act.
The said certificate shall be acknowledged before a judge of some court of record or a notary public, 2 and such certificate, with the acknowledgment thereof authenticated by the seal of such court or notary, shall be transmitted to the Comptroller of the Currency, who shall record and carefully preserve the same in his office.
Copies of such certificate, duly certified by the Comptroller, and authenticated by his seal of office, shall be legal and sufficient evidence in all courts and places within the United States, or the jurisdiction of the Government thereof, of the existence of such association, and of every other matter or thing which could be proved by the production of the original certificate.
Copies of, when evidence.
CAPITAL STOCK REQUIRED.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That no association shall be organized under this act, with a less capital than one hundred thousand dollars, nor in a city whose population exceeds fifty thousand persons, with a less capital than two hundred thousand dollars: Provided, That banks with a capital of not less than fifty thousand dollars may, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, be organized in any place the population of which does not exceed six thousand inhabitants.
Amount of capital stock required.
2. In an action by a national bank, in which the certificate of the Comptroller is produced authorizing the bank to commence business, it is no objection to its legal existence that the acknowledgment of the organization certificates was taken before a notary public who was one of the stockholders. That is a question for the Comptroller only. (Thatcher v. The West River National Bank, 19 Michigan, 196.)