Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Charles Wilkes, [26 April 1804]

To Charles Wilkes1

[Grange, New York, April 26, 1804. “I would not pronounce against the power of the Directors to go into the operation you mention;2 but I think it liable to so much question as hardly to be advisable without the sanction of the stock holders at a general meeting. I should perceive no difficulty in their giving a gross sum out of their profits for the renewal or extention of their charter. The difference in the two cases is that the former operation affects the basis of the institution. The association of the stock holders is predicated upon a given capital.”3 Letter not found.]

1ALS, sold by Kenneth W. Rendell, Inc., Catalogue 64, Item 71.

Wilkes was cashier of the Bank of New York.

2The minutes of the board of directors of the Bank of New York do not contain any reference to the subject discussed in this letter (MS Minutes of the Board of Directors, Bank of New York, New York City). Although it cannot be stated with certainty, it seems likely that this letter concerns the repeated efforts of the bank to have certain limitations removed from its charter. See Henry W. Domett, A History of the Bank of New York, 1784–1884 (New York, 1884), 60, 61, 62.

3Text taken from the dealer’s catalogue.

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