Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Theodore Sedgwick, 22 February 1794

From Theodore Sedgwick

Philadelphia, February 22, 1794.


A committee of the House of Representatives, having in charge “to report whether any, and what, sum may be necessary to be loaned for the purpose of carrying on the public service for the year 1794,”1 have directed me to request of you answers to the following questions.

1. Whether money collected on account of the United States, and deposited in banks, is, from the time of deposit, considered as in the Treasury.

2. Are any, and, if any, what, means necessary to subject money, so deposited, to the control of the Treasurer?

3. In case money, so deposited, is not considered as in the Treasury from the time of deposit, who is, from that time, until it passes into the Treasury, responsible to the United States?

4. Is any money now so deposited, and, if any, is the probable amount such as to render a present provision for a loan inexpedient or unnecessary?2

With much esteem, etc.

Theodore Sedgwick.

The Honorable the Secretary
of the Treasury.

HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , III, 180.

1On February 21, 1794, a section in the appropriations bill which authorized the President to obtain a loan was struck out in the House of Representatives. In consequence a select committee was appointed to inquire into the state of the Treasury and the expediency of a loan ([Philadelphia] Gazette of the United States and Evening Advertiser, February 21, 1794; Journal of the House description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I, II. description ends , II, 70). Sedgwick, who was a member of the House from Massachusetts, was chairman of this committee.

2In a speech to the House of Representatives on February 28, 1794, Sedgwick explained the reason for these questions: “… The select committee were not fully acquainted with the bank transactions in relation to the treasury, and were uncertain, whether money deposited in banks by collectors of revenue, was considered as in the treasury from the time of the deposit. He observed that this doubt arose from considering the law constituting the treasury department, by which it appeared that the Secretary’s warrant was as well required for paying money in, as for issuing it from the treasury. It might therefore happen, if on the deposit, money was not considered as in the treasury, that the apparent deficit, reported of 621.294 dollars and 18 cents might exist, while in fact, there might be at the disposal of government, a sufficient sum completely to answer every demand.… contemplating the subject in this view the select committee had thought it their duty to submit certain questions to the Secretary, which they had accordingly done” ([Philadelphia] Gazette of the United States and Evening Advertiser, March 4, 1794).

Index Entries