Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Oliver Wolcott, Junior, 21 December 1798

From Oliver Wolcott, Junior

Phila. Decr. 21. 1798

Dear Sir

I have recd. your favour of the 20th.1 with Twenty Dollars. The sum I lent you was Thirty Dollars. Yesterday I sent you2 a small bill which you forgot to pay. No Consul can be recd. at present.3

The result of all the enquiries which I have been able to make is, that a small sum, might be raised by the gradual sale of 7½ per Cent Stock at par but that there can be no certainty, that a Loan would immediately be filled, for the sum we want under 8 per Cent.4

If among your acquaintances you discover any circumstances to vary this opinion be pleased to inform me soon.

I am respectfully yrs

Oliv Wolcott.

A Hamilton Esqr

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; copy, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.

1Letter not found.

2Letter not found.

3On the back of this letter is written: “William Kellock Mercht. Cork requests the appointment of American Consul for that port. He is a respectable Mercht. and resided some years in the United states where he was admitted a citizen.”

4“An Act to enable the President of the United States to borrow money for the public service” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 607–08 [July 16, 1798]) provided: “That the President of the United States shall be, and hereby is authorized to borrow, on behalf of the United States, from the Bank of the United States, which is hereby authorized to lend the same, or from any other body or bodies politic or corporate, or from any person or persons and upon such terms and conditions as he shall judge most advantageous for the United States, a sum not exceeding five millions of dollars, in addition to the monies to be received into the treasury of the United States, from taxes, for making up any deficiency in any appropriation heretofore made by law, or to be made during the present session of Congress; and defraying the expenses which may be incurred, by calling into actual service, any part of the militia of the United States, or by raising, equipping and calling into actual service any regular troops, or volunteers, pursuant to authorities vested or to be vested in the President of the United States, by law.” The loan was to be reimbursable after fifteen years, and the surplus of duties on imports and tonnage was pledged for the repayment of principal and interest.

Under the provisions of this act the Government raised five million dollars by subscription and issued an equal amount of stock bearing eight percent interest yearly (Raphael A. Bayley, The National Loans of the United States from July 4, 1776, to June 30, 1880 [Washington, 1882], 44).

In 1801 a House committee reported that this loan was “negotiated upon the best terms that could be procured, and with a laudable view to the public interest” (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Finance, I, 692).

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