Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Alexander Hamilton, 11 October 1792

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Department October 11th 1792.


I have it in contemplation to make arrangments for the payment of the debt, which appears on the Books of the Treasury, to be due to His Most Catholic Majesty, being for advances made on account of the United States during the late War with G Britain.

I make this communication, in order that if any reasons against the payment exist in the knowlege of the Department of State they may be made known. I have the honor to be Very Respectfully sir your Obedt Servt

Alexander Hamilton

RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand except for signature; at foot of text: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 11 Oct. 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

There is no evidence that TJ responded in writing to this letter, and it is unlikely that he raised any objections to the proposed payment of the American debt to Spain, for Hamilton soon authorized William Short to liquidate it (Hamilton to Short, 26 Nov. 1792, Syrett, Hamilton, description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends xiii, 235). Short made the final payment in 1793. For the tangled history of this debt, see Bemis, Pinckney’s Treaty, description begins Samuel Flagg Bemis, Pinckney’s Treaty: America’s Advantage from Europe’s Distress, 1783–1800, rev. ed., New Haven, 1960 description ends 325–34.

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