Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Robert Troup, 12 September 1791

From Robert Troup1

[New York] 12 Sep. 1791

My dear friend

I have reced. your favor2 respecting the special authority necessary to be given to those who represent the original holders of Bank Shares in the choice of Directors and have done as you requested. The speculations in those shares have been prodigious & much money has been made & lost by them. The fluctuations in their value have excited alarm in the minds of the well wishers to public credit as tending to exhibit an unsound state of our finances. The truth is that the fluctuations are principally owing to the arts & contrivances of mere jobbers & amongst these our friend Brockholst stands in the foremost ranks.3 A few days ago a cursed scheme of depression was planned & executed under his immediate patronage as is universally said & believed.4 It frightened the Directors of our Bank5 & seriously injured many persons amongst whom are some of Brockholst’s particular friends. The current has since taken a contrary direction but it is conjectured it will not carry the shares to as high a value as they have generally been at since the bubble first broke. By the by our friend Brockholst some how or other has an unfortunate story eternally pursuing him—And as he rises in fortune he appears to sink in reputation. His last maneuvre has occasioned a separation between him & several who were his warmest supporters. Duer on the contrary is mounting fast above him. The basis of his conduct as a speculator is frankness & I have not heard him even suspected here of any dishonorable combination or of any stratagem to deceive—so that he really Stands amongst us upon better ground in point of character than ever. There is between him & me an amnesty of all past bickerings & I mean to do every thing in my power to promote his election. I have already formed some arrangments upon this subject & am preparing the way generally for him. The event is certainly doubtful but I hope & am determined to hope for the best. Pray write an answer to the enclosed letter by the first post. I wish you to be careful of what you say with respect to the speculations in paper—the value of Stock &c. You have been quoted upon some occasions for the purposes of mere jobbing. God bless you

Yours

Robt Troup.

A Hamilton Esqre

ALS, Sleepy Hollow Restorations, Inc., Tarrytown, New York.

1Troup, who had been a close friend of H since their undergraduate days at King’s College, was a New York lawyer and land speculator.

2Letter not found.

3The stockholders of the Bank of the United States elected the directors of the bank on October 21, 1791 ([Philadelphia] Gazette of the United States, October 26, 1791). For H’s plans and proposals on how the election should be conducted, see LeRoy and Bayard to H, September 1, 11, 1791 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , IX, 157–58, 201–02); Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to H, September, 1791 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , IX, 255–60); Edmund Randolph to H, October 18, 1791 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , IX, 406–11).

4Brockholst Livingston, a New York lawyer, and certain associates (including Edward and John R. Livingston) were speculating as “bears” in the New York securities market in the summer and fall of 1791 (Davis, Essays description begins Joseph Stancliffe Davis, Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations “Harvard Economic Studies,” XVI [Cambridge, 1917]). description ends , I, 283). Following a sharp rise in the prices of funded securities in July and August, 1791, there was a precipitous drop in the market. In October the security prices began to recover and reached new highs in January, 1792 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Finance, I, 231; Davis, Essays description begins Joseph Stancliffe Davis, Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations “Harvard Economic Studies,” XVI [Cambridge, 1917]). description ends , I, 210; H to William Seton, September 7, 1791 [PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , IX, 185]). In the same period the scrip of the Bank of the United States followed a somewhat similar pattern, but the fluctuations were much more pronounced (William Duer to H, August 16, 1791, note 3 [printed in this volume]; Davis, Essays description begins Joseph Stancliffe Davis, Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations “Harvard Economic Studies,” XVI [Cambridge, 1917]). description ends , I, 211).

5Bank of New York.

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