Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Thomas Mifflin, [23 June 1792]

From Thomas Mifflin

[Philadelphia, June 23, 1792]

Sir.

By a late act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, provision is made,1 among other things, for paying the nominal amount of the State Certificates, which are subscribable to the loan, proposed by Congress2 to the State Creditors, “upon this condition, and not otherwise, that the State Creditors subscribe to that loan, and thereupon, on or before the 1st day of July next, transfer to the State Treasurer, for the use of the Commonwealth, the Certificates which they shall receive from The United States, in consequence of such subscription.”3

The Comptroller General and Register General of the State,4 have stated to me, that a difficulty occurs in the execution of this act; as, according to their information, the Certificates of The United States for the amount of the respective subscriptions of the State Creditors, will not be issued until the 1st of March 1793, and, of course, cannot be transferred to the State Treasurer for the use of the Commonwealth, at the period which the Legislature of Pennsylvania had prescribed, previously to the passing of the act of Congress, that extends the time for subscribing to the loan.5

Under these circumstances, I am induced to request, that you will, as far as you can with propriety, enter into an arrangement, to accommodate the State; and either direct the Certificates to be immediately issued (since there is no reasonable ground to suppose, that the amount of the subscription in pennsylvania will exceed the amount of the assumption); or give your sanction, to a transfer of the receipts, which the Loan-Officer issues, in the first instance, to the parties subscribing; so that, at the regular period, the certificates may be obtained, in the name and for the use, of the Commonwealth.

The readiness which you have shewn, on every occasion, to facilitate our fiscal operations, as far as they are connected with the Federal establishment, assures, me that no apology is necessary for this application, and increases the sincere respect, with which   I am, Sir, Your most obedt., Hble servt.

Thomas Mifflin.

To Alexr. Hamilton,
Esqr., Secretary of the
Treasury, of The United States.

LC, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg; two copies, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg.

1“An Act to Provide for Paying and Redeeming Certain Public Debts, and for Defraying the Expenses of Government,” April 10, 1792, provided in part that “if congress shall, on or before the first day of July next, renew and again open the subscription to the loan heretofore proposed to the state creditors, or shall, in any other manner, and upon any other terms, provide for the assumption of the non-subscribed debts owing to such state creditors, the holder or holders of any certificate or certificates, subscribable to the subscription so renewed, or entitled to the benefit of such other provision, shall be entitled to have and receive the nominal value of the said certificate or certificates from the state treasurer, upon this condition, and not otherwise, that they shall and do subscribe to the loan so renewed, or acquiesce in the terms of such other provision; and thereupon, on or before the first day of July next, transfer to the state treasurer, for the use of the commonwealth, each and every the certificate and certificates which they shall receive from the United States in consequence of such subscription, or all and singular the interests and benefits to be derived from such other provision, together with the proper evidences thereof” (Pennsylvania Statutes description begins James T. Mitchell and Henry Flanders, eds., The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682 to 1801 (Harrisburg, 1896–1908). description ends , XIV, 309).

2“An Act supplementary to the act making provision for the Debt of the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 281–83 [May 8, 1792]).

3Although the Pennsylvania act of April 10 had stipulated a deadline of July 1, Alexander J. Dallas, secretary of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, gave public notice on May 16, 1792, that state certificates subscribed to the Federal assumption should be transferred to the state treasurer on or before the “first day of August next” (Pennsylvania Archives, 9th ser. [n. p., 1931], I, 394).

4On June 22, 1792, in response to Mifflin’s request, John Nicholson, comptroller general of Pennsylvania, and John Donnaldson, register general of Pennsylvania, wrote to Mifflin:

“The Act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, entitled ‘An Act for paying and redeeming certain public debts, and for defraying the expences of government,’ provides that to entitle the holders, of such debt of this state, as is assumable by the United States, to payment therefor, they shall first subscribe the same to the loan of the United States, and on or before the first of July, 1792, transfer to the State-Treasurer for the use of the commonwealth, the certificate or certificates which they shall receive from the United States, in consequence of such subscription, or all and singular the interests and benefits to be derived from the provision which hath been made by the supplementary Act of Congress, passed at last sessions providing for the public debt.

“Under the said Act of Congress the certificates for the subscriptions made will not issue until March 1st, 1793, and consequently they cannot be transferred within the time limited above. The Loan-Officer on making the deposit of State debt grants a descriptive receipt therefor, conditional to return any, that may not be assumable—we have considered this subject, have consulted the Loan-Officer aforesaid, and obtained his concurrence, and are of opinion, that the best way will be to receive from the parties those certificates of deposit signed by Mr. [Thomas] Smith, examine the same, as to their being genuine certificates, and assumable, as well as the amount of principal and interest of such as are, till July 1st, 1792, and take a transfer to the Treasurer thereon, in such manner as the Loan-Officer agrees, shall enable him to issue the certificates on the first of March, 1793—according to the provisions of the Act of this State aforesaid.

“This plan is submitted for the approbation of your excellency.” (Hogan, Pennsylvania State Trials description begins [Edmund Hogan] The Pennsylvania State Trials: Containing the Impeachment, Trial, and Acquittal of Francis Hopkinson, and John Nicholson, Esquires … (Philadelphia, 1794). description ends , 215–16.)

5The reopened subscription of state certificates was to be carried on in the manner provided by “An Act making provision for the (payment of the) Debt of the United States.” Section 14 of this act provided, in case the subscription exceeded the sum allowed to any state, that “… the certificates and credits granted to the respective subscribers, shall bear such proportion to the sums by them respectively subscribed, as the total amount of the said sums shall bear to the whole sum so allowed to be subscribed in the debt of such state …” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 143 [August 4, 1790]). Since the sum allotted to Pennsylvania, however, was estimated to be greater by a million dollars than the total assumable debt in that state, there was, as Mifflin states, “no reasonable ground to suppose” that the provisions of Section 14 would be applicable to Pennsylvania. See Statement D of “Report on the Public Debt and Loans,” January 23, 1792.

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