Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to the President and Directors of the Bank of the United States, 20 November 1792

To the President and Directors
of the Bank of the United States

Treasury Department
November 20, 1792.


According to advices received from Amsterdam dated August 30th. 1792,1 I have good ground to conclude that there is a sum in the hands of our Bankers there,2 not less than 1,250.000 florins subject to my order; but though there is a moral certainty of this being the case, there are circumstances which admit a bare possibility of the contrary. It is proper to apprise you of this, as a preliminary to the proposition I am going to make—as well on the score of propriety as for the purpose of serving as a guide to your determination and conduct.

If as I understand to be probably the case you have occasion to establish a fund in Europe I propose to you the following arrangement vizt.—

I will cause the Treasurer to draw in favor of whomsoever you shall designate for a sum in guilders equal to 500.000 Dollars at the rate of 36 4/11 pence Pennsyla Curry per Guilder.

His draft or drafts to be at your disposal to be remitted on your own account and the amount to be passed to the Credit of the United States as on the first of January next. If a law shall be passed to authorise the measure, it shall operate as a payment at that period by the United States to the Bank, on account of the loan made to them pursuant to the XIth. Section of the Act which incorporates your institution.3 If no such law shall be passed it shall remain as a Credit to the Government, but not liable to be made use of, until information shall be received that the Bills have been accepted and paid.

In case of non payment contrary to expectation, the Credit which shall have been given to be refunded; but in such case no damages nor interest on the bills are to be demanded. With respectful consideration, I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,

Your Obedt. Servant

Alexander Hamilton
Secy of the Treasy

The President & Directors
of the Bank of the
United States.

LS, from the Straus Autograph Collection on deposit in the Princeton University Library, with the permission of Mr. Oscar S. Straus, New York City.

2Willink, Van Staphorst, and Hubbard.

3“An Act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 196 [February 25, 1791]). See “Draft of George Washington’s Fourth Annual Address to Congress,” October 15–31, 1792, note 20.

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