Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Edmund Randolph, 9 November 1791

From Edmund Randolph

Philadelphia Nov: 9. 1791.


I do myself the honor of answering your letter of the 2d. instant1 upon the subject of the North Carolina certificates.

The 13th. section of the funding act2 admits, that subscriptions may be made to the loan payable in the principal and interest of the certificates or notes which, prior to a certain day, were issued by the respective states as acknowledgments or evidences of debts, by them respectively owing, except certificates, issued by the commissioners of army accounts in the state of North Carolina, in the year 1786. These last certificates are, I presume, now out of the question.

But how can redeemed certificates be a subscription of debt? Is a debt once due, but now paid off, still a debt? I cannot comment upon this question, with any hope of making it clearer, than it is at its first appearance.

For its redeemed debt of the foregoing description, each state will, I suppose, be a ⟨creditor⟩3 of congress. But the great settlement of accounts bet⟨ween the⟩ United States and the individual States must em⟨brace that⟩ debt. The subscription excluded it; as may be ⟨more fully seen⟩ by a reference to the 17th. section.4

I have ⟨the honor⟩ to be   ⟨with respect⟩ & esteem   ⟨your obedt.⟩ serv.

Edmd. Randolph

To the Secretary of the Treasury

ALS, RG 60, Copies of Opinions, National Archives; copy, North Carolina Department of Archives and History, Raleigh. The copy was enclosed in H’s “Report to the Governor of North Carolina,” July 31, 1794.

1Letter not found.

2For Section 13 of “An Act making provision for the (payment of the) Debt of the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 138–44 [August 4, 1790]), see Thomas Smith to H, June 6, 1791, note 1.

3Words within broken brackets have been taken from the copy.

4For Section 17 of the Funding Act, see Smith to H, June 6, 1791, note 1.

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