From Nicholas Low1
New York 10 April 1792
my dear sir
The Failure of John Dewhurst2 may be attended with a total Loss to the Manufacturing Society of the Money intrusted to him3—he remitted the Money to a Mr. Hill of London his partner subject to the order of a Mr. King4 of Liverpool to whom Mr. Hall5 sent the Order for the Goods. The Intelligence of Dewhurst’s Failure goes by the British packet saild yesterday to call at Halifax. Walker Duer Macomb6 & myself with the privaty of Mr. Hall have determined without communicating our plan to any other of the Directors to dispatch a pilot Boat to land a confidential Messenger at the first convenient port she can make in England with a Letter to Mr. King requesting him to repair immediately to London and secure the Money in the Hands of Hill, the Boat will be dispatched in two or three Days at farthest. We trust she will arrive Time enough before the packet to secure our object and have conceived it our Duty to adopt this as the only Chance of saving so large a Sum. This to your private Ear & I hope the Expedient will meet your approbation. The Directors are to meet here on the 17 Instant. We shall be glad to have such Communications as you may think proper for us. I fear Macomb will not be able to go thru all his Engagements.7 If he stops an almost universal Stoppage of Payment will ensue. I am duely favord with yours of 23. 29 & 31 Ulto.8
Yours very sincerely
Alexr. Hamilton Esq
Secretary of the Treasury
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Low, a New York City merchant and land speculator, was a director of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures.
2. Dewhurst, a New York City businessman and a director of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, was a close associate of William Duer, Alexander Macomb, and other New York speculators.
3. The society appropriated fifty thousand dollars for procuring materials and workmen from Europe. A committee consisting of Macomb, Low, Dewhurst, Benjamin Walker, and Elisha Boudinot was established to superintend the expenditure of this money. The committee, in turn, entrusted the actual spending of the money to Dewhurst (“Minutes of the S.U.M.,” description begins MS minutes of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, City of Paterson, New Jersey, Plant Management Commission, Successors to the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. description ends 20, 28).
The amount of money spent by Dewhurst is described as follows in the committee’s report: “… a Warrant was issued in favor of Alexander Macomb Chairman of the Committee for 50000 Dollars the amount of which was delivered to him [Dewhurst] by Mr. Macomb in Bills of Exchange drawn by Mr. Macomb on his Correspondent in London amounting to £10,975:12.2. Sterling and Mr: Dewhursts receipt for the Bills filed with Mr. Walker. The particular application of these monies by Mr. Dewhurst, will be seen by his Letters annexed to this Report” (“Minutes of the S.U.M.,” description begins MS minutes of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, City of Paterson, New Jersey, Plant Management Commission, Successors to the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. description ends 28–29).
4. Joseph King.
5. William Hall, an English artisan, was in charge of the printing business for the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures.
6. Walker, Duer, and Macomb were all officials of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures.
7. Macomb was forced to suspend payments two days after this letter was written.
8. Letters not found.