Alexander Hamilton Papers

Report Exhibiting the Amount of All the Public Funds, [5 February 1793]

Report Exhibiting the Amount of All the Public Funds
up to the End of 1792 and Statement of
What Remains of Each Appropriation1

Treasury Department
February 5. 1793.
[Communicated on February 6, 1793]2

[To the President of the Senate]


In pursuance of the first part of the order of the Senate of the 23d of January past,3 I have the honor to send herewith sundry statements marked A, AB, B, Ba, D, E, F, and I beg the permission of the Senate to add the Copy of a letter dated yesterday, which served to transmit duplicates of the same documents to the House of Representatives; and which contains some explanations of them; a repetition of which here will be thereby rendered unnecessary. The document C referred to in that letter was also sent to the House of Representatives, but being of considerable length, a duplicate is not yet ready; and I did not think it advisable to detain the other papers ’till it was ready.4

The documents now transmitted will answer the whole of the enquiry contained in the first part of the order above referred to, except what regards a distribution of the expenditures under each head of appropriation; which is in preparation and will be forwarded as soon as it can be ready.

The situation in which I am placed renders further delay absolutely necessary to the fulfilment of the second part of the Order.

There is a point in my letter of the 16th of January to the Senate concerning which some explanation is requisite.5 I stated as one motive to the joint negotiation of the loans, under both Acts,6 “an intimation from our Bankers in Holland7 that a distinction might prove an embarrassment, being a novelty, the reason of which would not be obvious to the money lenders.” This was done from memory, without recurrence to documents, and in a degree of hurry occasioned by my anxiety for the speedy passing of the Appropriation Bill,8 and upon a revision proves to be not accurate. The mistake arose in the following manner. My original idea was to maintain a separation between the two Acts. This will appear from my letter of the 28th of August 1790 to our Bankers in which I express a desire that they would endeavour to place part of the first loan upon one Act and another part upon the other Act. But they did not carry this idea into execution for the reason assigned in their answer,9 now before the Senate, which is that the subdivision proposed would under the circumstances of the case tend to excite speculations and doubts among the money lenders.

But prior to the receipt of their answer I had made further enquiry and had reflected more on the subject. The result of my enquiry was that the money lenders having been accustomed to lend on the general Credit of the Government borrowing, with a sort of general pledge of its revenues and resources, the attempt to bottom a loan upon any particular law, might, as a novelty, occasion some hesitation and embarrassment among them; especially as they are known to be a description of men much influenced by habit and precedent; and the conclusions from more full reflection were that the distinguishing of the loans with reference to each act, might not only embarrass the business, in the first stages of negotiation, but might interfere with an application of the proceeds of the loans in the most convenient and beneficial manner, according to circumstances.

On these considerations I abandoned my original intention, and in my first instruction to Mr Short10 was silent on the point.

These different positions of the subject in the mind, at different times, and what actually took place with regard to the first loan, produced some confusion in the recollection of facts, and led me to assign as a cause what had been only a collateral circumstance, and to ascribe to the Bankers intimations, or rather information, which I had received from other quarters.

I submit this explanation of the matter to the candor of the Senate, and have the honor to be, with perfect respect,

Sir, Your Most Obedt Servant.

Alexander Hamilton

P S   I have the honor to return the original Bank Books and accounts which were withdrawn respecting my request that as soon as the use for them shall cease they may be returned.11

The Vice President of the United States
and President of the Senate.

LS, RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury, National Archives.

1For background to this document, see the introductory note to “Report on the Balance of All Unapplied Revenues at the End of the Year 1792 and on All Unapplied Monies Which May Have Been Obtained by the Several Loans Authorized by Law,” February 4, 1793.

A note accompanying this document reads: “Letter to the Vice President from the Secretary of the Treasury accompanying sundry documents in pursuance of an Order of Senate of the 23d. of January 1793, relative to his financial arrangements, together with a Copy of a Letter dated Feby 4th. 1793 transmitting duplicates of the same Documents to the House of Representatives containting some explanations. February 5th. 1793.”

2Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , III, 640.

6“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]) and “An Act making Provision for the Reduction of the Public Debt” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 186–87 [August 12, 1790]).

7Willink, Van Staphorst, and Hubbard.

8On January 9, 1793, “An Act making appropriations for the support of Government for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three” was approved in the House of Representatives and was submitted for the consideration of the Senate (Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I. description ends , 665). The act was approved on February 28, 1793 (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 325–29).

9Letter not found.

Index Entries