Ratification of the Holland Loan
[Philadelphia, 1 September 1791]
Now Know ye, that the President of the United States of America having seen and considered the said contract, hath ratified and confirmed, & by these presents doth ratify & confirm the same and every article thereof.1
In testimony whereof he has caused the seal of the U.S. to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with his hand. Done at the City of Philadelphia the first day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & ninety one, & of the independence of the U.S. of America the sixteenth.
This ratification was for the two Holland loans, the unauthorized Holland loan of 1790 and the Holland loan of March 1791. For background to the 1790 loan, see Alexander Hamilton to GW, 26 Aug. 1790 (second letter) and notes. For the March 1791 loan, see Hamilton to GW, 10, 14 April 1791.
1. The contract for the 1790 loan, submitted for GW’s approval reads: “To all whom it may concern—greeting. Where as the Legislature of the U.S. of America by their acts passed on the fourth and twelfth days of August, one thousand seven hundred and ninety, authorised the President of the U.S. to borrow on their behalf certain sums of money therein named, or any lesser sums, for the purposes therein stated, and to make contracts respecting the foreign Debt of the U.S.; and the President thereupon gave to Alexander Hamilton esquire, Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S., full powers by himselfs, or any person appointed by him, to carry the purposes of the said Acts into execution, and the said Alexander Hamilton in pursuance of the said powers, having authorised Messieurs William & John Willink, & Nicholas & Jacob Van Staphorst & Hubbard in that behalf, the said William and John Willink, and Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst & Hubbard have accordingly entered into Contract with certain persons for the Loan of three millions of Florins which contract was made known, & acknowledged by the said William Willink for William & John Willink, & by the said Nicholas Van Staphorst for Nicholas & Jacob Van Staphorst & Hubbard before Petrus Cornelius Nahuys Notary at Amsterdam in the U. Netherlands on the twelfth day of November in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety, and is in the words following, to wit;
“On the twelfth day of November in the year seventeen hundred & ninety appeared before me Mr Petrus Cornelius Nahuys, Notary at Amsterdam admitted by the Court of Holland, Messrs William Willink, partner of the house of commerce, trading within this City, under the firm of William & John Willink; and Nicholas Van Staphorst partner of the house of commerce trading here under the firm of Nicholas & Jacob Van Staphorst & Hubbard, and likewise for & in the name of their aforesaid Houses of trade.
“The appearers dwelling within this City, makeing known, that the aforesaid houses of commerce of these appearers, have received from Mr Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America, sundry Instruments passed by the congress of the United States of America, and His Excellency the President George Washington, whereby he, Mr Alexander Hamilton, is qualified and empowered for the purposes expressed in those acts to borrow at home, or in foreign parts, to the amount of twelve millions, and two millions of Dollars; provided that the interest from the monies so to be borrowed shall not exceed five in the hundred, and no engagement entered into, whereby the United States of America, should be precluded from reimbursing the monies borrowed, within fifteen years after the period, same shall have been borrowed: Authentic copies of all which deeds in the English language with translations thereof, have been delivered unto me Notary, to be annexed unto the minute of these presents.
“That the aforesaid Mr Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America, in pursuance of the power vested in him, as aforesaid, by an act (authentic copy and translation of which, have likewise been delivered to me in manner aforesaid, and are annexed to the minute of thes presents) in name of the United States of America, has authorised & qualified them, Messrs William & John Willink, & Nicholas & Jacob Van Staphorst & Hubbard, or in case of the decease of any of them, the survivors thereof, to borrow on behalf of the United States of America, either by confirmation of the advertisement given out by the Houses of commerce of these appearers, or otherwise, as may be eligible, a Sum or Sums of money not exceeding three millions of Guilders, Subject to the conditions stipulated in the acts herein before mentioned; and further, to pass in the name & on behalf of the President of the United States of America, such contracts, Bonds or instruments as are requisite to that end, and customary in like cases, and to bind the good faith of the United States for the performance & fulfillment of all the aforesaid conditions: the said act accepting, approving, ratifying & confirming, in name and on behalf of the United States of America the Loan of three millions of guilders current money of Holland, dated the first of February of this present year, at the interest of five per cent per annum, the advertisement whereof has been given out by the houses of commerce of these appearers.
“And these appearers do, by virtue of the aforesaid authority, and the power therein delegated to them, acknowledge in the name and on behalf of the United States of America, to have received from sundry persons, or money Lenders, the Sum of three Millions of guilders current money of Holland; renouncing by these presents the exception of untold Monies, as likewise so far as is needful, the Beneficium divisionis, together with, de duobus vel pluribus reis debendi, signifying a division of the Debt, and that where there are two or more Debtors, each one may plead the payment of his share thereof as a full discharge from the remainder; these appearers promising in name as aforesaid, not to have recourse to those or any other evasions; as likewise that this Bond shall never be subject to any imposts or Taxes, already laid, or that shall hereafter be laid in the United States of America, even in case (which God forbid) any division hostility or War shall take place between the United States of America, & the States of these Countries; so that under no pretext or pretence whatever the payments of the interests, and of the reimbursements of the principal of this Bond, may be hindered or protracted.
“And these appearers further promise, in name of the aforementioned United States of America, to reimburse and pay in this City, the aforesaid principal sum of three millions of guilders current money of Holland, free from cost & charges unto the respective money lenders, within the period of Fourteen years, from the first of February of this current year seventeen hundred and ninety; which reimbursements shall take place on the first day of February in the years eighteen hundred, eighteen hundred & one, eighteen hundred and two, eighteen hundred and three, and eighteen hundred and four; one fifth part of six hundred thousand Guilders, in each of the said years; to which end, six hundred following numbers shall be drawn out of a Lottery, to take place before a Notary and Witnesses in the month of December preceding each of the aforegoing years, the result of which shall be published in the Gazettes; unless the United States of America shall prefer to reimburse the whole or a part of this negotiation sooner, which those appearers expressly reserve to the United States the faculty & power to do; the reimbursment in which last case, shall likewise take place by a drawing, and be advertised in the Gazettes.
“That in the mean time, the interest upon the whole of the principal sum, and successively upon the remaining or unredeemed part shall be paid untill the full discharge or reimbursment thereof, at the rate of five per cent per annum on the day it shall fall due, calculating same from the date of the recipesses of this & this Loan already delivered, & thus on the first day of February in each year, upon Coupons to be signed by or on behalf of these appearers.
“And there shall be made three thousand Bonds of participation in this act, under each of which shall be placed a receipt for one thousand Guilders; to be signed by the firms of the houses of commerce of these appearers, numbered from No. 1. to ⟨3⟩000 and countersigned by me, notary, & to be recorded and enregistered upon the minute of this Deed.
“For the performance and fulfilment of all which, these appearers, in name as aforesaid, do bind the good faith of the United States of America.
“Thus passed at Amsterdam in presence of Jacob Nicholas Michell, and Bernardus Jacobus Peronneau Van Leyden, witnesses
Petrus Cornelis Nahuys
The contract for the loan dated 2 Mar. 1791 reads: “To all whom it may concern—greeting. Whereas the Legislature of the United States of America, by their acts passed on the fourth and twelfth days of August one thousand seven hundred and ninety, authorised the President of the United States to borrow on their behalf certain sums of money therein named, or any lesser sums, for the purposes therein stated, and to make contracts respecting the foreign debt of the U.S. and the President thereupon gave to Alexander Hamilton esquire, Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S. full powers by himself, or any person appointed by him, to carry the purposes of the said acts into execution, and the said Alex: Hamilton, in pursuance of the said powers, having authorised William Short Esquire, chargé des affaires of the United States of America at the Court of France, in that behalf, the said Wm Short hath accordingly entered into contract with certain persons therein named for the loan of two millions and a half of Florins, which contract was executed at Amsterdam in the United Netherlands on the second day of March in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety one, and is in the words following to wit,
“On this 2d day of March in the year of our Lord 1791. appeared before me Nic: Obbes, Notary of Amsterdam, admitted by the honorable Court of Holland: William Short, chargé des affaires of the United States of America at the Court of France, in the capacity of being authorized by Alex: Hamilton, actual Secretary of the Treasury of the said United States of America, as empowered and qualified by virtue of a certain commission, power & authority, of the President of the United States, under two acts of Congress passed on the 4th & 12th of August 1790. to raise in any part of Europe for & in behalf of the sd United States a sum of money not exceeding that contained in these presents and on the premisses to make or cause to be made such contract or contracts as shall be required, as more fully appears by the authentic copies & translations of the original commissions & power exhibited unto me the said Notary, and deposited in my Custody, in behalf of the joint Money-Lenders.
“And the appearer in his aforesaid quality, and thus in behalf of the abovementioned States of America, acknowledged himself to be duly & lawfully indebted unto and in behalf of Sundry persons, or Money-Lenders, in all, a sum of two millions & five hundred thousand Guilders, Dutch current money, arising from, and on account of so much ready money received by him the appearer, in his capacity as aforesaid to his perfect satisfaction from the said money-lenders pursuant to the receipt hereafter mentioned to be signed by the appearer under the Bonds of participation, therefore expressly and formally disawowing the excuse of untold moneys.
“And the appearer, in the quality he in the premises does appear, did promise to reimburse and pay within this City unto the aforesaid Money-lenders or their assigns free from charges & Damages, the above expressed sum of two millions five hundred thousand Guilders at the expiration of fifteen years after the first day of March 1791. in the manner following; Vizt
“That the aforesaid Principal shall remain fixed during the space of eleven years and that at the expiration of the eleventh year, and thus on the first day of march 1802. a sum of five hundred thousand guilders shall be redeemed of the aforesaid principal of two millions and five hundred thousand guilders; and thus from year to year after the first day of March 1802. inclusive, in manner that the whole principal shall be redeemed & paid off, within the space of fifteen years as aforesaid, however it shall be lawful for the said United States to make a sooner discharge of the whole, or part of this Loan: And that meanwhile for the said principal, at first for the whole, and afterwards for the residue, at the expiration of every year, Interest shall be paid at the rate of five per Cent per annum, commencing with & on the first day of March 1791., and to continue until the whole is paid off & this on Coupons to be signed by or on the part of said Appearer in his capacity as aforesaid.
“That the said redeemings shall be performed by drawing of five hundred following numbers to be done in the presence of a Notary and Witnesses within this City, after the expiration of the first mentioned eleven years, & which said redeemings & Payments of Interest shall be made at the counting-houses of the gentlemen directors, as shall be advertised in the public papers.
“That the Directors of this Loan, shall be, Messrs Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicholaas & Jacob Van Staphorst & Hubbard of this City merchants, who are by these presents hereunto named and appointed by the appearer in his said quality.
“The Appearer promising & engageing in the names of his Constituents, that the amount of the interests & of the redeemings to be made from time to time of the said principal, shall be remitted in due time unto the aforesaid gendemen Directors, their heirs or Successors in good Bills of exchange, American produce, or in coin, without any abatement or Deduction whatsoever.
“That this Bond or obligation shall never be subject to any imposts or Taxes already laid, or in time to come to be laid in the said United States of America, or any of them, even in case (which God forbid) any war, hostilities or dissension should arise between the said United States, or any of them, on the one side, and the States of this Country on the other side, and that the payments of the principal or the interests of this Bond or obligation accordingly can in no wise, nor under any pretext whatsoever, be hinder’d or delayed.
“The appearer in his aforesaid quality, promising and engaging moreover on behalf of the said United States, that there shall never be made or entered into by them or their parts, or by any of them, in particular, at the making of Peace or otherwise, any convention or Treaty, public or private by which the validity & fulfilling of these presents might be prejudiced, or whereby anything contrary thereto might be stipulated, but that without any exception, the contents of these presents shall be kept & maintained in full force.
“The appearer in his said capacity, likewise promises, engages & binds himself by these presents, that this Engagement shall be ratified and approved as soon as possible by the President of the United States, & that authentic copy & translation of the said ratification together with its original, shall be deposited in the custody of me the said Notary, there to be kept with the said copy authentic translation of the commissions & Powers of him the said Appearer & the engrossed hereof for the security of the money-lenders, untill the above mentioned principal and the interests shall be redeemed & paid off and (as he the appearer in his aforesaid quality consents) there shall be made of this act, besides and above the aforesaid engrossed two thousand five hundred Bonds of participation which shall be of the same force & value, and have the same effect as the engrossed one, under every one of which said bonds of participation a receipt shall be placed of one thousand Guilders Dutch current Money, either on name or in Blank at the choice of the money-Lenders, to be signed by him the said appearer, and which receipts shall be, repectively numbered from No. 1. to 2500. inclusive and countersigned by the aforesaid Gentlemen Directors, & duly recorded by me the said Notary as a testimony that no more than two thousand five hundred Bonds are numbered by virtue of this act.
“All which Bonds of participation, with the receipts placed thereunder, shall at the redeeming of the principal be restored by the Bearers.
“For the fulfilling & performance of all the above written, he the said Appearer in his said quality, binds the faith of the United States of America in manner as is expressed by the acts of Congress, bearing date the 4th & 12th of August 1790.
“He the appearer renouncing in the names as aforesaid for that purpose expressly the Beneficium de duobus vel pluribus reis debendi, as likewise, (if need be) the beneficium ordinis, divisionis et excussionis, the sense of which are fully known unto him, he the said appearer promising in his aforesaid capacity never to have recourse to the said or any other evasions whatsoever.
“This being passed (after a translation was made hereof into English, which is likewise signed by the Appearer and deposited in the custody of me the said Notary) in the City of Amsterdam as aforesaid in the presence of Jan Trelich and Jan Augerman, witnesses.
GW’s instrument of ratification appears at the end of the letter-book copies of both contracts.